In the marketing and communications world, your number of Twitter followers has become a new measuring stick. But at what point does the quest for Twitter followers stop being strategic and start becoming narcissistic? It’s easy to lose sight of the goal of the program and the target audience.

As with anything in life, there’s always quick ways to get ahead, and Twitter certainly offers those. The latest has been anything to do with Charlie Sheen. The same way aspiring comedians are furiously scribbling Charlie Sheen jokes, many tweeters are throwing “#winning” or “@charliesheen” mentions into their posts. Some are just trying to be funny while others see an opportunity to get a quick bump in followers. (The same way some TV networks have been accused of running any Charlie Sheen content just to get viewers.)

Recently, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) revealed that after tweeting about Charlie Sheen, he has experienced a drastic increase in followers. Polis had jokingly posted, ““I have 8,188 twitter followers after yrs of tweeting, @charliesheen has 2,588,966 after a week #winning,”

It appears Rep. Polis was making a light-hearted, self-deprecating joke, but the impact was clear. His number of new followers per day has doubled since the post. Not to suggest that Rep. Polis was trying to boost his Twitter followers with the post, but he’d probably be the first to tell you most of his new followers weren’t constituents in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.

Whether its keyword stuffing or hash tag overload, you can’t lose sight of the fact that the content has to be relevant. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you read Rep. Polis’ Twitter posts, you find him to be engaging, available and interesting. So regardless of whether some of his followers came from a Charlie Sheen joke, he has mastered the art of relevant content.

Then again, this blog post is filled with references to Charlie Sheen and #winning. #Walkingcontradiction #ohwell.  Hopefully, that’s not the only reason people read the post.

—Tim Wieland is an Account Shepherd at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.