I like Twitter. It’s a telegraph of the 21st Century. It’s quick, messages are short and up to the point. But I’m trying to keep short the list of accounts I follow. As of today I’m following 52 accounts, and this is a reasonable number. I mean, I am actually reading about a half of the posted messages.
When I see that someone is following more than a thousand accounts, it’s clear to me that he used one of these programs that can bump the number of your followers to thousands or tens of thousands. They work on a simple principle – if I’ll start following you, many people would follow you back just to be nice. Twitter API is simple, and any junior programmer can write a program that will automatically start browsing random accounts using as long as someone entered valid Twitter login credentials. Run this program for a day and the number of the accounts you follow will go over a thousand, and the number of your followers will substantially increase too. By doing this, you agree to manually sift through the thousands of messages to weed out only those that were published by accounts you really interested in.
This technique is being abused by people who are selling their “online marketing or search optimization services” to people who may even have no idea of what Twitter is. I’ll show you an example. Today, my Twitter account reported that I got three new followers. I usually take a quick look at each of my new followers. Let’s do it together. One of my new “followers” was Denise Landis.
Let me assure you that this smiling lady has no idea of who I am. She “follows” more than 300K accounts and is being “followed” by more than 300K accounts. In reality, most likely she has a very slight idea of what Twitter is. Let’s apply the method of deduction to recreate the crime scene as Sherlock Holmes would have done.
One day, Denise, who runs the Web site “The Cooks Cook” got an email from an a company Marketing Spammers promising to increase the traffic to her site for a nominal fee. She has agreed. Then these marketing guys have created a Twitter account for her (she didn’t even know this word at the time), bumped up the number of her followers to over 300 thousands, and showed her how to poblish cooking related posts on twiter once in a while.
Web Analytics tools proved to Denise a substantial increase of the traffic to her cooking Web page, because many of these followers (myself included) clicked on that link in her Twitter profile out of curiosity (I did it just for the sake of this blog). Denise is happy. Marketing Spammers are happy. Denise has no idea that the vast majority of the followers will never go to her Web site again. Some anal people (like me) will take the time and block her account. I’m not going to bother reporting it as spam, cause Denise has no idea of what’s going on. Once in a while Denise cuts a new check to Marketin Spammers and they run their program again. A short term traffic increase is clearly shown on the Google analytics reports.
It’s elementary, Watson! Next month Twitter will become a public company valued between $10 and $12B. I’ll buy some shares in a couple of weeks ofter the IPO.
Congrats to Twitter and best of luck to Denise with her cooking business!