When I started my new website ViralConversations.com, I also started a new twitter profile. Since this was a brand new profile I was able to observe changes easily. As you can see from the screenshot below I am following 42 people but have 43 followers. The extra person who is following me as a person I’d like to talk about.
When you create a new profile on twitter, and the account is banned, twitter’s system does not remove it from the following count of others. So if you were to create thousands of fake profiles, and follow people could artificially inflate their follower counts without having to go through the trouble of finding real friends.
So why would you want to profile the thousands of fake friends … to get real friends that’s why…
When people getting a new follower email alert they look several things, here are some of the most popular:
- Do I know the person or company?
- Does this person talked to people I know or like?
- Does this person talk about information or subject matters that I’m interested in?
- How many other people are following this person?
It’s the last one that you’re hoping to take advantage of. News bots on twitter have huge followings, and the ability to drive massive amounts of traffic. If you are creating a news bot and you wanted people to follow or feel was a trustworthy profile, having a profile with thousands of followers would be a good first step.
Twitter and lots of other social media sites simply aren’t prepared for adversarial usage. Spammers were used to dealing with services like Google have very sophisticated techniques, and grow more sophisticated every year. For new social media sites that aren’t prepared for adversarial users, this is a problem. In fact I’ve written about this before (see Spammers Google’s Defensive Line).
Twitter needs to take a more active role in managing and supervising their community. They need to understand that the social space is going to have all the social problems that plague forums, message boards, and social bookmarking sites. Trolls, spammers and malcontent personalities always go where the traffic is. They need to devote time and resources to these problems, if they hope to keep a vibrant and growing community that isn’t overrun if they hope to survive for the long term.