The hot topic at the moment is that there are bloggers out there taking a shortcut and buying up thousands of fake Twitter followers. But why? Is it really worth being caught out?
(When writing a discussion post like this, it’s important to write up a list of pros and cons – we want to present a fair and balanced view. Honestly though? This is really difficult to think of any pro points.)
The recent discussions (and subsequent witch hunt – while what this person has done is wrong ethically, it didn’t warrant the way that people were attacking them on Twitter.) that have been going on have gotten bloggers talking about buying followers to appear popular to PRs. The blogger in particular had bought 10,000 followers and then started getting invites to awesome events. Some bloggers started getting suspicious that they had never heard of this blogger then suddenly they were everywhere. A little poking about and the secret was out.
The latest story is that there is a blogger in the US who is having a giveaway to give the winner 6,000 Twitter followers with a method that businesses allegedly “use to increase their online presence, gain credibility, and look more established.”
The truth is that social media is only fun when you are talking to people. Building that audience up, one follower at a time is satisfying. (Honest!) That person really wants to know what you’re talking about, and that is what makes your audience valuable – not the numbers. Buying followers is a short term boost but once you’re found out, not only will the invites dry up, but your peers wont be interested in getting to know you – which is a real shame.
If anything, this whole debacle has taught (hopefully) PRs to do a bit more research on bloggers audiences and not to just rely on numbers (which will benefit the bloggers with a more loyal but smaller audience) and bloggers that there is no shortcut to becoming the next big thing. Just keep working at it. You’ll get there!
If you’re curious about your (or any other!) accounts, then head over to fakers.statuspeople.com, connect your Twitter account and enter the account you want to know about. Most accounts will have maybe less than 10% fake followers – fake accounts will act like real accounts to try to fool these sort of tools (Noticed an increase in random people favouriting odd tweets? Fake accounts. Keep getting mentioned in a tweet copied by other accounts? Fake fake fake. There’s not much you can do about these, but if you block and report as spam when you see fake accounts doing this (and it’s usually quite obvious, the account will have a tweet advertising how to get more followers…!) then at least this will reduce the number of fakes following you)
So, what do you think? Would you buy followers to make yourself look more popular? (You can admit this anonymously if you prefer!)