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What’s a good word for a person that’s being followed?

For example, a Twitter user can have many followers. Twitter refers to the users that another user is following as following, more in a verbal sense of the word.

@johndoe is following 283 users

What one word could be used as a noun to label those whom one is following? I thought of followee and a coworker came across guide, of which I’m not sure how it works.

marked as duplicate by MetaEd, tchrist, Mitch, Marthaª, kiamlaluno Oct 22 '12 at 21:43

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  • Guide only makes sense if you mean literally following, as in going where they tell you to go. In this context, "following" means you are keeping track of where they go -- they are not leading you but informing you. So guide doesn't really work. – David Schwartz Oct 22 '12 at 18:53
  • Aha! Now I get it... – Kyle Macey Oct 22 '12 at 19:09
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    "People I stalk"? – Victor Stanciu Oct 22 '12 at 19:10
  • @VictorStanciu Hmmm, might be viable... However, not only am I seeking a one word answer, but I'd like to keep my users from feeling uneasy about using our site :) – Kyle Macey Oct 22 '12 at 19:12
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    The title made me think quarry or prey, but then I saw that the question was about "following" in the Twitter sense, and I no longer find those very appropriate. :-P – ruakh Oct 22 '12 at 19:16
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    "Publishers", "Syndicators", "Sources" going on whiteboard. "Feeds" and "Subscriptions" are already referring to something else – Kyle Macey Oct 22 '12 at 19:47

Twitter's under-the-hood term for a user you follow is friend. The URL https://twitter.com/friends is also an alias of https://twitter.com/following.

As a general term, I'd suggest leader or interest.

  • Yes. "Friend" is a little bit informal for what I'm going for. Good suggestion, though. – Kyle Macey Oct 22 '12 at 19:34
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    "Interest" is now on the whiteboard – Kyle Macey Oct 22 '12 at 19:43

A suggestion for someone you follow might be doyen:

doy·en   [doi-en, doi-uhn; Fr. dwa-yan] noun, plural doy·ens  [doi-enz, doi-enz; Fr. dwa-yan] The most respected or prominent person in a particular field



  • Object, subject, focus, focal point
  • Polestar, lodestar, cynosure
  • Center, hub, navel, omphalos

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