Chasing followers on Twitter

The recent couple of weeks I have been bombarded by companies and people trying to sell me hundreds and thousands of followers. I ignored it in the beginning. As the “spamming” got more intensive, I had to investigate this. Why me? Why now?

Here is what I found and my conclusions.

Here are the parameters the spammers are looking for.

  • Number of tweets
  • Number of re-tweets
  • Number of mentions (it has to be low I guess!)
  • Number of followers
  • The popular hash tags you use or your name is mentioned in

So, I used some of the popular online tweeter analysis tool and there have been a slight increase in tweeter frequency in the above parameters, hence the increase of spammers.

So, my current state in the tweeter world fired up some signals.

I spend some time to look at what types of spammers were after me. It wasn’t the “signed up and get 100 followers free” type. They all wanted to get paid. Which lead me to believe that they have some knowledge of my financial abilities as well. However, their assumption of the value in number of followers was greatly wrong.

Purchasing followers is like renting a sports car to impress, people will very soon discover!

With the easy access and lowered threshold of knowledge for using APIs a new generation of programmers have started to use these free services to create leacher-services. It is pretty easy to download streams of tweets in a database and write a number SQL queries to find out different categories of people.


My conclusion:

I am self-taught in Social Media tools. I have missed the reason for why it is so important to have many followers. Does it mean anything? In that case what?
Charlie Sheen got 2 million followers in 1 hour or day … He was famous before and I guess many more than 2 million knew about him. I don’t think he got followers that didn’t know him before hitting the follow button.

Before I follow someone, the only parameters I care about it the number of tweets and take a quick look at their recent 20 tweets. Are they active and interesting? Well, I will follow them. If they are inactive or self-promoting, well I will think twice.

In summary, if you are an interesting person with unique ideas or a kind soul prepared to help for no reason. Well people will follow you. If you are not, you can pretend to be popular, but people will pretty soon discover. So, delete the spam and don’t engage companies with these business ideas. They will parish soon enough.


25 Responses to Chasing followers on Twitter

  1. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would
    be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  2. Gina July 10, 2011 at 10:09 #

    Very interesting topic. Lots of people believe that having massive followers makes them “popular” but as you said, it there is little going on aside from self promotion, fans will soon fade away. I was just searching and looking for jobs in Sweden, when I stumbled on your tweet.

    • Shahram July 10, 2011 at 16:57 #

      Thank you for your comment! I agree as you say that fans will fade if you don’t bring any value. Looking forward to more of your comments and insights!

  3. Watch Football Streams July 7, 2011 at 07:33 #

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  4. Dfewgoodmen June 13, 2011 at 04:29 #

    This is a great post. Insightful with pretty useful syllogistic argument. Glad that I follow you on twitter. Being social is what Twitter is about!

  5. Steve Birkett June 12, 2011 at 21:35 #

    I think buying followers would be a horrendous waste of money. Anyone interested in Twitter for its intrinsic value, two-way communication, will see through the lack thereof with one quick scan of the recent tweets. Which is exactly as you and my fellow commenters highlight, Shahram, so we must be tweeting for the right reasons 🙂

    Have a great Sunday….Steve.

    • Shahram June 13, 2011 at 15:58 #

      Thank you Steve for your comment. As you say, two-way communication and the result of exchange of ideas is the value.
      Happy to be in contact and communication with you.

  6. Jeannette Baer June 12, 2011 at 21:09 #

    Shahram, you bring up great points. Why it is so important to have many followers. Does it mean anything? In that case what?….I think people want to build up followers, because unfortunately we are still judged by the number of followers, the numbers of tweets, our Klout score and it becomes a competition of influence, power, etc..

    But at the end of day; how many “2 Way” relationships have we made? and that’s what’s important to me!

    Before following someone, I also look at their latest tweets to see if we have something in common, same interest, etc. Once you find people you can have robust conversation with, you realize; it’s about the quality, not the quantity …(I hate to sound cliche- but true)

    I couldn’t sign off without telling you; You’re one of those people that enrich my stream! tweet exchanges with you are always superb and filled with great insight – and that, is what is all about!


    • Shahram June 12, 2011 at 21:15 #

      Thank you Jeannette for your comment. I fully agree, it is the feeling and the knowledge that is left after the communication that matters. As you say “2 way” relationship that provides value and creates new value.
      I am glad and fortunate to be part of a productive community with you as a leading part!

  7. Rabab Khan June 12, 2011 at 20:49 #

    Like Dane, I check out each new follower.
    1. Their tweets: Mentions VS Self promotion
    2. Their blog/website, if any.

    If they look like someone who may find my tweets useful or interesting and vice versa, I follow back. Otherwise I don’t. I see no point in increasing the noise. I don;t care if they unfollow me after a few days, which they do because usually “those” kind of people use some form of automation or app to follow/unfollow.

    Very aptly summarized, Shahram. The number of followers is meaningless if they dont see or add any value to your online life.

    • Shahram June 12, 2011 at 20:58 #

      Thank you Rabab for your comment. I agree fully, value is what everybody wants and appreciates. Those who leach on the traffic will come and go!

  8. Jeannine Morber June 12, 2011 at 19:56 #

    I so agree with this, Sharam! I am actually “living proof” that the number of followers doesn’t matter – I have barely 200 followers but “talk” to 5 times that number of people almost daily by using hashtags in my tweets of topics I am interested in.

    Sometimes people using the same hashtag will follow me as a result, sometimes they don’t. But who cares? I can still talk to great fascinating people who have similar interests as I do.

    And to me, THAT is the whole point!

    Great, great, GREAT post Sharam!

    • Shahram June 12, 2011 at 20:01 #

      Thank you Jeannine! I very much agree with you. As you say the value you gain is the “real” thing. The number in tweeter followers or any other point and score site is just a number. In my opinion, the seeds of thought and action that you put in other peoples minds when communicating is the actual value.
      Thank you for your comment and experience you just shared.

  9. Peggy June 12, 2011 at 19:50 #

    Great topic! I was on FriendorFollow when you tweeted your post.

    I agree with others that I had a different policy when I was new, I think we are all just learning about Twitter as we go.

    Loved your post.

    • Shahram June 12, 2011 at 19:51 #

      Thank you Peggy for your comment. Indeed, we are all learning and changing. I guess our “online” personality and habits are evolving and what is true today may be completely the opposite tomorrow. However, what is real and genuine will always last and be liked! 🙂

  10. Will Russell June 12, 2011 at 07:55 #

    Completely agree with you here, it shouldn’t be about how many followers you have, but how you engage them. Too many businesses measure success with how many Twitter followers or Facebook fans they have, rather than how they interact with them. In my opinion, this is completely missing the point on social media!


    • Shahram June 12, 2011 at 07:57 #

      Will, thank you for the comment and I completely agree with you. As you say, they miss the point on social media. it is like to old says one million people cannot be wrong … Well, the number doesn’t say anything. Who and why they like something is the most important thing.

  11. Joseph Ruiz June 11, 2011 at 21:25 #

    Like Dane, I am also trying to be careful of who is coming into my stream if content is constant retweet of same thing, or indicates little to know human interaction I block saves having to go back and spring clean, actually it doesn’t still need to spring clean just seems like a way to try to keep the noise down.

    I have to admit early on I was chasing followers wished I would have figured this out a little sooner. Oh well, better late than never.

    Nice post.

    Joe @SMSJOE

    • Shahram June 11, 2011 at 21:45 #

      Joe, thank you for your comment. You, Dan & Steven are more experienced in this field. it feels good that you guys have the same opinion about this. I guess the old saying, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are will still be valid in the social media society as well.

  12. Steven Pofcher June 11, 2011 at 19:48 #

    Good post. I am disliking spamsters more and more.
    Followers: It is all about quality, not quantity.

    • Shahram June 11, 2011 at 20:55 #

      Thanks Steven for the comment. I agree! quality always before quantity. However, I sometimes joke with the quote “Quantity is quality in it self” Joseph Stalin. 🙂

  13. Dane Findley June 11, 2011 at 19:44 #

    I do the same thing. Before I follow someone (or follow them back) I look at their last 15 tweets or so. If there’s a RT and lots of @replies, then I’m in! If it’s an autofeed only… I’m out.

    I used to have even stricter follow-rules, such as “must have location listed” and “face pic rather than only-logo” but now I’ve loosened up a bit. I just want someone who can converse a bit!

    { twitter = @danenow }

    • Shahram June 11, 2011 at 20:54 #

      Thank you Dane for the comment. I agree 100%. The whole idea of social media is to be social. If I wanted to talk to a bot, well I would stay home and talk to my Mac!
      I guess in the future there will be segregation in this area of our social life as well. Those who care and want to interact, those who just want to find an short term opportunity to make small change.

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