Two stories in the past week have highlighted high-profile people who have purportedly purchased Twitter followers. USA Today columnist Danny Sheridan and PeerIndex CEO Azeem Azhar were both outed as consumers of purchased Twitter followers, with Sheridan picking up 380K followers in the last two months (to add to the 11K he had accrued in the preceding years). Many questions are being asked about this, except maybe the most important one – who cares?
You can make as much of an impact with 400,000 fake Twitter followers as you can with zero Twitter followers, so why is it important? Probably because we measure ourselves based on these arbitrary and worthless metrics (such as follower count), and someone cheating a (however irrelevant) measurement violates our propriety. We need to get over that.
A post that I wrote recently describing that 40% of brand Twitter followers may be “bots” generated a lot of interest. It’s provocative to see that 44% of Whole Foods’ followers may be illegitimate, or that Starbucks is the least “bot”-bequeathed at 6%, but do you know who is most upset about those statistics? Whole Foods. I guarantee they had no idea that almost half of their social “channel” is worthless – and I’m sure whoever masterminded that is polishing up their resume and sprucing their LinkedIn profile.
I have a “friend” whose mother-in-law likes to give his wife and children antiques that she accrued throughout her lifetime of collecting. Everytime my “friend,” his beautiful wife and children visit his mother-in-law, they are presented with bags of stuff that they will never use. Some of the stuff they receive is pretty, some of it interesting, some of it is shiny, but none of it is practical. It just ends up taking up space in my “friend’s” basement (his wife feels compelled to keep these gifts).
Point being, paying for Twitter followers is like paying your mother-in-law to clean out her house by moving it into yours. It is a worthless use of resources for useless stuff. You shouldn’t feel envy or sore-bottomed about people who do this – you should simply feel sorry for them. You’d never know by visiting, but my “friend’s” basement is a mess.