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You'd be surprised at the number of people who use Twitter for the sole purpose of following their favorite chelebrities, ergo interacting with brands. I'm going to put my toe in the water and assume the same applies to Facebook.

Celebrities may have brands built around them, but they are not simply brands. I know a lot of people who spend a significant amount of time talking to celebrities on Twitter, and they tend to draw that distinction too: If they perceive the celebrity is an interesting person, they'll interact. But if the celebrity just seems to be presenting a "brand," they're much more passive, because interacting with a brand tends to feel hollow.

I wouldn't call the fifty thousand @paulg followers to be passive, exactly, as I see a lot of interaction and he only tweets about the business, nothing personal or news breaking. (I don't follow him on twitter, btw.)

And aside from his personal distaste for the artist Dale Chihuly, I havent derived much about him from either his essays or speeches, so please don't tell me that he's met all 50k of his followers and somehow convinced them that he's a great guy. So do fifty thousand people want to interact with a brand or not?

You're drawing weird lines that I wouldn't agree with. It's a false dichotomy to say "Either these people have met this guy and know him intimately or they want to interact with a brand." I didn't know any of my friends very well before I became friends with them, but they still interested me enough with what I did know of them that I wanted to know more. That's not called "interacting with a brand", it's called "interacting with people." I'll probably never be good friends with Paul Graham, but I theoretically could. Nobody will ever be friends with a brand.

People follow Paul Graham because they are interested in his ideas and influence on the industry, not because they "want to interact with a brand."

Even if he's not sharing any of his ideas or extending any of his influences to his followers? Wes Welker signed up to Twitter a week ago (under his own brand/name) and now has 175K followers, all of whom presumably want to interact or at least be associated with (a form of interaction) Wes Welker, the football player. They'll never get close to interacting with the person outside of a charity event or a sly hookup, so why call bullshit when a social media company claims that its user do in fact want to interact with brands when they, and we, have evidence that they do?

I don't think OP's premise holds true in all cases and it's equally valid to assume that people are interacting with a brand when they're following, liking, friending, retweeting or mentioning personified brands, human or bot.

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