Consider the case of Maureen Evans. A grad student and poet, Evans got into Twitter at the very beginning ? back in 2006 ? and soon built up almost 100 followers. Like many users, she enjoyed the conversational nature of the medium. A follower would respond to one of her posts, other followers would chime in, and she?d respond back. Then, in 2007, she began a nifty project: tweeting recipes, each condensed to 140 characters. She soon amassed 3,000 followers, but her online life still felt like a small town: Among the regulars, people knew each other and enjoyed conversing. But as her audience grew and grew, eventually cracking 13,000, the sense of community evaporated. People stopped talking to one another or even talking to her. ?It became dead silence,? she marvels. Why? Because socializing doesn?t scale. Once a group reaches a certain size, each participant starts to feel anonymous again, and the person they?re following ? who once seemed proximal, like a friend ? now seems larger than life and remote. ?They feel they can?t possibly be the person who?s going to make the useful contribution,? Evans says. So the conversation stops. Evans isn?t alone. I?ve heard this story again and again from those who?ve risen into the lower ranks of microfame. At a few hundred or a few thousand followers, they?re having fun ? but any bigger and it falls apart. Social media stops being social. It?s no longer a bantering process of thinking and living out loud. It becomes old-fashioned broadcasting.