Twitter teems with offers through which you can buy followers by the thousand. This seems the social media equivalent of the sub-prime financing of mortgages
A few months ago I started tweeting more regularly. This relatively harmless occupation was rewarded as I connected with a small number of discriminating tweeters who followed me, and I them. Tit-for-tat following was part of social media practice. It also explains how ‘like attracts like’. My followers and following grew steadily month by month. The scale was still manageable.
Then I took the first step on the path to using twitter to publicize an e-book, and shortly after that a new edition of my leadership textbook.
Vendors began picking up signals of prospect. I started receiving more notifications every day that I was being followed. Most of these individuals did not seem particularly interested in what I was tweeting. These followers were primarily in the business of offering bundles of of followers for sale. The going rate at present is around $39 for a 1000 followers.
What’s it all about?
I am open to being corrected. Here’s my guess. Having lots of followers is attractive to social media types. But if set up in certain ways, the followers acquired are bundled together in ways which do not conform to my ideas of a follower. If you like another analogy, as Gresham’s law states, bad money drives out good.
The word goes about that someone with lots of followers can ‘financialize’ the assets. How? Various simple ways, for example by retweeting. Or it maybe becoming part of a pyramid scheme. The buyer of a few thousand names offers them a promising way in.
A case in point
To return to my experiences, my would-be vendors included someone I will refer to as Wendy May. My notification told me that Wendy had begun following me. Her details were that she had carried out a total of 8 tweets, had acquired 600 followers and was following 400 folk.
I noticed a further curious fact. The eight tweets had all been carried out in one day..
Also, on the same day that Wendy had followed me, I was followed my someone I will call Wanda. Wanda’s profile was remarkably like Wendy’s. She too had a total of eight tweets to her name. Her followers and following stats were rather more numerous, at 4000 and 1400 respectively.
Then, curiously, when I checked, all 8 tweets were again all on one day. Which is strange. Even stranger, the day was the one which had seen Wendy burst into ephemeral life.
The next day I was noticed and followed by Rhonda Light, who was offering bundles of followers from 5000 to 100,000. Rhonda with 22 tweets had a modest 120 followers so she had clearly not availed herself of her own offer of 5000 followers for $39.
What do you think?
I have cited one example of what I believe to be common practices in the Wild West world of twitter marketing. Am I missing the point? Should I be celebrating the arrival of a thriving entrepreneurial world?
Then there is the $39 dollar question. Why has $39 become such a favoured figure in the fast-growing world of the social media entrepreneur?