Everyone has a varying degree of an ego online and knowing mine is bigger than yours helps some of us, including me, sleep better at night. Facebook friends, blog comments, number of visitors and followers on Twitter are all examples of egotistical stats that we check almost daily.
What if they were gone? More specifically, what if on your Twitter profile you couldn’t see how many people followed you? Would you use still use the micro-blogging platform as aggressively as you currently do? Re-tweeting, sharing the number of links, running competitions etc. are all ways I see people using Twitter in the hope of more followers. Sure, some of the content is genuine, but there is a percentage of all our content that is aimed at getting more followers.
If Twitter removed the follower count, I honestly think the quality of content and users on Twitter would drop quite significantly. Take away the ego stroking stats within any web application and there always be users that will leave.