As fans of the UK Government know, it is important to set targets. For those targets to work, they need to be measurable. In other words, you have to know when they have been met. There should also be safeguards so that people don't game the system and meet targets at the expense of the underlying aim of the policy. Finally, when those targets have been met, the policymaker should be congratulated for the aim, the effort and the outcome.
It is in this context that I would like to present one of my personal targets: to get more Twitter followers than my daughter within a year of joining Twitter. At the time, this felt like an ambitious target, not least because she had benefited from an artificial bump in her figures after being tweeted by minor celebrity Chipmunk (I think his tweet was ;) or something like that). However, I then benefited from the short attention spans of Evie's followers, and her score has fallen to a highly achievable 537. Tonight, after 11 months on Twitter, I reached the heady heights of 538 followers. I don't think that I gamed the system. I am being followed by someone selling boxes and one or two people selling some dodgier looking things, but I did not invite those organisations to follow me. I might have once made a plea for more followers, but only to level the Chipmunk field (and I think I only got 20 followers from the appeal). Otherwise, I have developed a small but good quality following with a triple Twitter strategy: blogs for students/ academics, vague complaints about Scottish politics and more general inane drivel as it occurs to me. So, congratulations are in order. I hope you will understand that, although I love my children very dearly, I am also a very petty person who likes to wind up close family members on a regular basis. This fits the bill nicely.
Please note: if you want to wind me up by following my daughter, to get her numbers above mine again, you should know that we are one of those trendy families in which our children share the surname of their mother, not father. So, you will have to make quite the commitment to the joke.
UPDATE 8th June 2013 - I have now been on twitter for a full year and have 661 followers. I now need a new target. I reckon it should be: go from 9 tweets per day to 8.