How to spot a Twitter user with a ‘Fake’ Follower Count.

‘They’ have thousands of followers, they adorn themselves with Bio’s which are occasionally obscure but often that of a self proclaimed Guru …and of course you’ve never heard of them before. Should you follow them? Seems reasonable to think that IF they have tons of people following them they MUST be legitimate, right? *cough*. I have been observing various Twitter users for the past three months who offer little value, but do know one thing above all other skills they possess …how to manipulate their follower count to get ahead in Twitter.

image
We’re following you because… ummm… everyone else is…!

Unfortunately Twitter has no system (yet) for other users to ‘rate’ profiles and in the absence of such a system, credibility is for the most part distinguished by ‘how many followers’ someone has. The people I’m referring to in this post are the Twitter users who have discovered how to artificially increase their follower count. Read on and I’ll show you one of the ways you can spot a ‘manipulator’ simply by looking at the historical growth of their account.

Please note: I’m not in the business of naming people I’ve observed. There are no rules on how to use Twitter so technically speaking these individuals aren’t doing anything wrong per se. I even follow quite a few of them simply to observe behavioural patterns.

He’s not who you think he is:
As an example, one of the most “popular” Twitter users in Australia also happens to be one of Australia’s most infamous convicted spammers. Clearly people aren’t aware of his past when they follow him (he obviously doesn’t advertise this fact on his profile). Ironically as he started his Twitter climb to the top in early December he bragged about how he would accumulate a mass following in Twitter with ease, which of course is not that hard when you see ‘how’ below.

How?
The way this individual and others like him amassed followers so quickly was simply by regularly following as many people as possible (within the limits) and un-following anybody who did not follow back. This keeps the follower-to-following ratio roughly in check.

If you were able to break down the first few thousand followers for these people you would see the large proportion are simply ‘return follows’. I believe that a critical mass is eventually reached (usually above 5,000 followers depending on location) at which point organic follows start to occur. This is because making the top lists in sites like Grader, Twiterholic, Alltop lists etc ensures that a profile with lots of followers are ‘promoted’. Whilst many agree that retweets are the most authentic way of attracting more genuine followers, being on a top 100 list will make sure your follower count continues to rise rapidly regardless of content quality or authenticity.

Recently scripts have appeared in the public domain that auto-follow and un-follow as above. An example of one of a person using scripts is shown in a graph below, and we can see how this particular individual has amassed over 35,000 followers in just a few weeks. I am not providing locations to these tools for obvious reasons.

External Evidence:

Ash from www.BannerBlog.com conducted an experiment where he manually followed 1000 people and un-followed them all a few days later. The net effect was he gained 350 followers. here

@AmyIris wrote a python script to mine names from Twitterholic.com and follow/un-follow which produced similar results to the above.

@danzarrella‘s site www.retweetability.com analyses whether or not a profile offers value based on tweets to retweets over followers. I have tested various people I thought were likely to have been manipulating follower counts and they tended to score lowly in this index. (Note this should not be taken as rule of thumb – highly conversational tweeters will also score low on this index).

How to spot a Twitter Follower Manipulator:
Disclaimer: To be used as a guide only. There are always exceptions when looking at statistical data.

Step 1: Visit http://twittercounter.com
Step 2: Type in the username you want to analyse. Select the three month period to examine.
Step 3: Watch for tell tale signs in their graphs as shown below.

Examples:

Growth profile of a regular Twitter User
Below:

A normal twitter user has the marked pattern of a steady growth. variations are rarely significant.

image

Below:
You can see that even celebrities follow a similar growth curve although a slight “J-curve” is evident. Despite the follower traffic being on a much larger scale the variations are still minor. (Note – @stephenfry’s curve contains several unusual jumps but these have been attributed to large scale UK media coverage).

image

Manipulated Following Pattern:
Below:
The following user has a marked number of days where there have been unexplainable spikes. (No evidence of Retweets or any other source explains these spikes in this instance). You can see where the true line of growth has been manipulated by mass following other users. The result is a significant jump in people ‘following back’.

image

Below: An example of mass manipulation by a Tweeter using scripts to increase their following to incredibly high levels in a very short space of time. These sudden jumps are a characteristic marker of follower manipulation.

image

Notes:
It is harder to see anomalous jumps in older twitter accounts. There are also exceptions that will cause spikes and jumps, but spikes can usually be attributed easily to a source such as massive retweets, or publicity/media.

Conclusion:
I expect to see an increasing trend in this kind of activity in the coming months as Twitter grows. There are many people who will equate a large following to something they can benefit from. Hopefully as Twitter matures as a platform, it will be harder to manipulate followers. Maybe a rating system would allow people to find great people to follow as an alternative to ‘follower mass’ alone.

Final word:
It’s up to you who you follow, but if you find you’re getting little value from t
his new breed of “successful” Twitter user, the best advice is to simply ‘un-follow’. You may also want to consider using www.socialtoo.com which has an interesting blacklist feature in development.

This article by @eunmac

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141 Responses

  1. Mark Pollard says:

    Thorough post there! Have been getting a tonne of activity from people doing this lately. I tend not to follow anyone with more than 2k followers if I’ve never dealt with them and/or have never heard of them.

    Of course, you’re talking about Andrew, right? :)

  2. hey Iain it seems you have finally drunk the coolaid. I remember you dismissing my theories a while back before I did my experiment?

    Try using Trendrr.com to actually track not only the peoples followers but their follows too.

    Can you change the link to my actual article too please :)

    http://www.bannerblog.com.au/news/2009/02/twitter_followers_sheep_syndrome.php

    This is another reason why top 10 lists on sites always seem to perpetuate more sales. Appstore on the iphone is the same with the top 25 getting more sales just by being on the list

  3. eunmac says:

    @Ash – I definitely didn’t dismiss your theory! I’d been watching a whole bunch of people doing exactly what you did esp since our convicted spam friend kicked off in Dec.

    My only difference was that I don’t think that having a high “following count” is specific marker of follow manipulation- eg: some people like Guy Kawasaki are following way more than are following him, simply because he follows back, and then people unfollow him.

    The only way to see if there has been manipulation is to look at trend lines in conjunction with tweets and @replies etc.

    @markpollard – Interestingly Andrew scores very highly in retweetability – often in top 20.

  4. Mark Pollard says:

    Of course he did! I think your next post needs to be: “How can we make it stop?”

  5. oralgastro says:

    Interesting posting – the first thought that came to mind though was that these spikes might as well be caused by some external factors that lead to popularity increase, but you mentioned that. I wonder though if it would be possible to find an algorithm that determines the “relational” increase (in relation to the absolute number of followers).

  6. sd says:

    Gr8 Post ::

    I wonder if ReTweeting as a measure of value isn’t also tainted by the follower problem. Lots {maybe a slim majority} of RT’s are tweeps trying to ingratiate themselves to what they see as “more popular” users. Once someone reaches 10k followers, dipshits start RT’ing them incessantly.

    If RT became the de facto standard of judgement :: Then people would NEVER shut up about them :: The requests and hints are already at nausea inducing levels.

    {please RT}

  7. Tinu says:

    This article is so awesome that I think I might be in love with you. LOL.

    Seriously, thanks for pointing this out… Twitter success is not about the follower number and I find myself getting blue in the face repeating this… The funny thing is that 20,000 “junk” followers just bring you more junk.

    Now 20,000 honestly earned fans? Different story… and as you said, even those are still earned organically.

  8. tmackel says:

    There is an exception. I am promoting a major charity fundraiser for my Rotary club. The event is the largest in our county and all the proceeds go to local charity. My follow rate is pretty high right now.

  9. JOhn Mighty says:

    Why in the heck would anyone fake their follower account?

    RT
    http://www.privacy-tools.us.tc

  10. Wow. Who gives a shit?

    Seriously, it’s sad enough that someone fakes followers. It’s even sadder that anyone actually follows the follower herd, following just to follow.

    Twitter is quite possibly the most pathetic service on the tubes.

  11. steelfrog says:

    I fail to see the point of manipulating Twitter, unless you plan on dropping paid links in your Tweets from time to time or send people to websites, but I’d assume some would catch on. Then again, I only have a handful of followers. 😉

  12. Liz says:

    I wrote about this on my blog since January but I never thought to analyze it to the extent you have. Kind of fascinating in “perverting the system” kind of way.

    I hope this trend ends soon. I call it, the Twitterer with No Clothes!

  13. Simon says:

    I have 347 follows, over 200 of these I’ve gained in the last month. I’m not faking anything. I don’t follow everybody that follows me, only the interesting ones. Does that make me a faker or a spammer?

  14. Steve says:

    Good article

    I still believe that quality not quantity is the way to go. I see no downside to this approach.

  15. Marcomé says:

    This is a great article and honestly I wouldn’t have time to figure that up! Thanks for your geeky passion and creativity!I like twitter cause it allows to have great interactions with tons of people. As an artist I never had so many..mature conversations!I do not know the average age of twitterers but it seems higher than other social networks and I appreciate it.

    Marcomé

    Discover Marcomé’s New Age Musical World

  16. Debby says:

    Great blog with graphs to demonstrate your points. I know it took time and thought to lay this all out for everyone. I considered using the remove function if someone didn’t automatically follow back, but it just doesn’t make sense if they have something valuable to say, teach or lead you in a new direction. I check each follower’s site and what they are promoting before I follow back. I feel this is creating a community of some kind with similar interests and goals.

    If someone has a few followers, but is following thousands, and only has a few tweets, then I know for sure they are spamming.

    Everyone had great comments, too. Thanks,
    Debby

  17. Kelly says:

    An interesting analysis but at the risk of being too blunt…so what.

    Is it possible that you’re imposing your view of what Twitter should on everyone else. I don’t see Twitter going to great lengths to “define” what it’s supposed to be or do, or what “good” looks like. Its kind of like the wild west.

    If some want to be clever and employ creative means of getting followers faster, are they really “cheating” or “gaming” the system? The system doesn’t disallow it. Are they trying to sell something? Very possibly but who cares.

    Who ever said that someone with lots of followers had to be an interesting and enlightened commenter? If that were the measure, 90% of people on Twitter don’t belong there.

    A following to follower ratio? Please. If you like a person, follow them. If you don’t, then stop.

    Are we being too pious or provincial about the subject?

  18. ummmm… you are aware that Twitter has “Suggested Users to Follow” for all the new people who sign up to Twitter and the box is prechecked for them? @biz finally mentioned it.

    @plusk happened to be one. And a few other celebrities. I don’t know why Twitter recommends celebrities, when they will get followers anyway due to their status. And most of them do not follow back. Twitter itself says that 2k is the number of people an average person can follow. Looks like a lot of the celebs are not even “average” as they are following only a handful, ie @marthastewart. Oh, well.

    Also, a spike can increase in followers if someone decides to create accounts and solely follow themselves. I have seen some companies with many brown avs solely following them. And because you do not have to have an existing email addy with gmail, you can create an email there and use it to create a new Twitter id. I am sure a program to automatically do that has already been written.

    At any rate, I like to quote @Scobleizer who says it is not who follows you, but who you follow that is important. However, having a gazillion followers would be a good thing if you are selling a product or service and want the eyeballs.

    I like to see the world through the eyes of Twitter and I learn, laugh, and meet new people from all over the world – something I would not be able to do in real life.

    Happy tweeting everyone!

  19. Bronson says:

    Great post eunmac, very informative and insightful. Thank you.

    I agree with Debby that it’s best to check out your followers site and follow back if it looks like stuff you’d be interested in.

    Also, if you befriend someone and start getting spammed, don’t just unfollow, DM them first to let them know that you’re displeased.

  20. tmackel says:

    Bronson,

    That would be called a TWITTER FOUL. I have used that as a tweet to the get rich quick tweeters…they do not appreciate it.

    LOL!

  21. We are still in the very early days of Twitter. There will be lots of follow optimization in the coming months. Users will unfollow anyone who is not providing fun, relevant or interesting tweets.

    Some people do think Twitter is a competition, and they spend a good proportion of their time trying to gain followers, but they – along with many others – are missing the essence of Twitter.

    If you have something interesting to say, your followers will retweet, and other followers will see the retweets and they will follow you. These followers are more likely to stay with you.

  22. Julie says:

    Perhaps Twitter could add CAPTCHA words to trip up the auto follow programs… But maybe it’s not in their interest to tick off users. I like the idea of scoring system! Thanks!

  23. maxiVelasco says:

    how about to people like me? i started twittering sometime in february (i guess) but i haven’t been that active before. a great change started sometime during the first week of march when i have begun being a bit into it. however, my statistics are real.

    well.. i know that some people spam and i know what you mean. my boyfriend also told me that there are some who hacks twitter accounts. is that true?

  24. tixe says:

    Yes it’s true but as you know twitter is not like myspace/facebook. There is no real way to get new followers except for looking at the toplist or “all twitts” and of course if you are at the top list you get a lot of followers no matter what.

    I did this my first days and got a lot of followers before I was banned(don’t know the reason I was keeping the ratio) but anyway I started a new account and noticed that mass following is not so effective as you think. It’s better to get “targeted” followers than random followers. I later started to google for keywords and follow people that were intersted in hope of a follow back.

    With the new follow rate it’s really lame to not follow back and I think it maybe even became more easy now to get follow back from active twitters because they know that if you won’t follow back and you are not an Ashton Kutcher, your followers will unfollow you!

    Anyway I just wanted to say that this is how you get followers on twitter if you are not undead and people see your face in magazines all the time. However it doesn’t mean that these people are always bad twitters. I never spam crap like most of the people just to promote their blogs. I twitt often without links, sometimes about me and sometimes about internet news or funny things etc.

    I just don’t want people to hate twitters like me who care about the followers. Hate all you want the twitters who get a lot of followers and do not follow back or twitt every 5 minutes random things that are not interested to anyone but since they are active they get more followers all the time anyway <.<

  25. some dude says:

    I’m with Kelly on this one.

    Fascinating info…but who cares? So what if someone wants to game their follow list.

    You’re analyzing something for no reason at all.

  26. tixe says:

    Btw, something to add.

    People who complain at people who follow back just because some one follow… Take a look at your msn! If you are an active internet user I’m sure there are a lot of people you only talked to ONCE. Same thing with the backlink in your blog comments. Also look at popular profiles at myspace/facebook, many are not ineteresting to be friends with at all but good to spam shitty applications that facebook got.

    This is how internet works, take it or leave it.

  27. Marko says:

    Thank you for very clear and practical post! Now I won’t be crying myself to sleep at night because not having those 10 000 followers. 😉

  28. Using social media is all about giving and taking. You can learn from others and you can educate. If you have expertise and provide value you will garner followers for real – the kind you really want to have and the kind that will still around to hear what you have to say. They will want to do business with you. I think you’ve created some stickeyness here.

  29. A solid post. I agree that Twitter will eventually find rules and tools to stop spam of all kind.

    I must say it is very much up to the each twitterer to follow and unfollow as they like and see fit.

  30. i’d noticed someone doing this in my following – i did a blog on it – the Karma program works well

    thanks for the tips :)

  31. Well-thought out post with a great deal of detail.

    I can appreciate the work that went into developing this concept and backing it up with details.

    But I have to agree with an earlier poster – “Who gives a Sh*# ?

    Seriously, why do you (or any of us) care that someone has that much time on their hands to develop a scheme and decide it is worthwhile to manipulate Twitter? I don’t, that’s for sure. Hey, they can just knock themselves out if that’s all they’ve got to do with their time.

    It makes sense to follow people who say something of interest and value to me; I don’t unfollow anyone, it’s too much trouble. I’m there to pull out nuggets of useful info and the rest is just background noise.

    Again, a big “who cares?”

    But great job explaining the process.

  32. Tom says:

    Please pin a badge on your chest or your computer you want to think for other people by telling them what people should do on twitter and profile people into some claas you did not create twitter you fit the so called guru your smart talented and trying to tell everyone how and why they should view someone it is simple follow or don’t twitter is for the masses what ever there reason is.

  33. Ray says:

    Thanks for the article…very informative…
    I’ve been using Twitalyzer to look at profiles as well.

  34. Vicki says:

    I follow people whose tweets are interesting to read. That’s my single most important criterion. Do I want to read what you write?

    I don’t even bother to block the fakes. I wait till they’re suspended.

  35. eunmac says:

    Thanks so much for all your comments.

    The objective of this post was merely to provide a little insight and awareness into what is happening. Is it really a problem? Possibly.

    Of course by not naming some of the users who are amassing followers I leave this post more open to interpretation. Not my gig to name names here but I remain skeptical of the motives of several accounts I’ve seen and of course they are still growing fast.

    I don’t think many Twitter users would particularly like the idea of criminals,conmen etc being able to amass 50,000+ followers with ease (in a matter of weeks) yet this is entirely possible. I hope this post will make it easier for the community to see them coming and help flag them early as possible by alerting @spam.

    Bottom line: Follower count does not always guarantee credibility. I think it would be good if more people were aware of this.

    Thanks again, @eunmac

  36. bugsyrocker says:

    it would be very interesting for someone to setup a twitter account where they only follow people who they believe to have false follower counts.

    then that profile would be a way to hold these people accountable, call them out, let others know, etc.

  37. VlogHog says:

    Follow who you like, don’t follow something just because it’s popular.

    Simple.

  38. lpapworth says:

    Food for thought. I agree with some of the others – it’s not important, if people want to fill their follow list with spammers, they can mutually spam each other. The rest of us find the unfollow button pretty quickly (which easier to find than the one on LinkedIn or even Facebook).
    I will say that I don’t have a problem with person you are talking about – he has built a large db quickly (it’s what he does) but he engages honestly and even his bio represents where he’s at (about learning and unlearning and relearning). *shrugs* if that changes we’ll know soon enough. 😛
    Now back to signing up for tweetergetter and the penguin one and tweetpacks and whatnot. Heh.

  39. Linnet Woods says:

    A couple of things:

    1) If people who follow and un-follow in bulk are staying connected in 2-way communication then I would accept that as some kind of ‘social’ networking, however paltry, and the lesser of the bulk-follow evils.

    Those who set up schemes encouraging others to amass huge followings whilst only following a minute number of people themselves, thus promoting a pyramid style venture, are enemy number 1 to Twitter as far as I’m concerned, since they wish to talk to but not listen to their groups which is the height of antisocial behaviour online.

    Bulk following and unfollowing and anything automated is not social activity and I haven’t yet grasped the point of doing it since one cannot possily get to know new people at that rate! Even normal activities can make it difficult to keep up with new people!

    2) Many people, including me, have a pattern of behaviour that might be mistaken for this deliberate account faking at first glance. I regularly unfollow two categories of people:

    a) Those who have followed me and then unfollowed me after I reciprocated and are not fascinating enough, in my opinion, to warrant retaining.

    b) Those whom I followed as a result of recommendations or because they seemed interesting and who didn’t follow back or turned out to be tweeting nothing of interest to me after all.

    Since I have to work, I do this during spare time and, therefore, I would not be surprised if my graph contained spikes and I also know that on Fridays I get a lot more follows than on any other day because of the #followfriday convention which may also cause spikes.

    Most days I only follow back new followers but, every now and again I discover a ‘seam’ of apparently interesting people and may follow as many as thirty people in a day, unable to resist the lure of amusing and entertaining tweeters.

    I have, for example, just followed almost all of you in the ‘Follow Us On Twitter’ box in the sidebar. One of two notable exceptions was @bmx777 which I automatically blocked because it has all the elements of a spam account and I presume you want to know how different people will handle it when they find it so I did what I usually do.

    There was another account on your list which seemed to contain the sort of random tweets that bulk-following tweeters use to pad out a pointless account but I couldn’t be sure so I simply left it unfollowed.

    So now I am observing you to see what you do around Twitter – it is also interesting and unusual to find a group of related tweeters to follow all at once.

    Apart from anything else, I have always liked Australians for their tendency to be direct and straightforward and to have a great sense of humour.

    Good thing it’s a Sunday or I wouldn’t even have had time to read your blog! LOL

  40. juliorvarela says:

    Wow, this is a GREAT post and so true, so true! Thank you for posting this very cool information. Just posted it to my FB profile.

  41. I am a blogger and I use twitter to let people know what I’m doing and thinking about and I do plug all my websites with twitter.
    I have noticed a average of 4.8% of my followers go to my sites after I tweet and that is a current stat.
    my sales jump to 2.88% per tweet on the sites that I plug so if I’m doing wrong OFW.
    All my blogs are kept current and I add interesting content weekly.
    thank you Stephen M Detweiler
    Infiniti P roperties LLC

  42. Geof says:

    One question: Really who effin cares??

    Simple fact is the majority of people that sign up for a twitter acct. very rarely come back, and FB and MySpace have 10’s of millions of active users and Twitter talks in thousands.

    Twitter is like what Friendster was years ago. A decent ideal but technologically too limiting and with a terrible UI.

  43. Douglas Karr says:

    Let’s hope that Twitter identifies the spammers or at least throttles their activities. Based on your data, it should be quite simple to devise a threshold to limit the behavior. Great work!

  44. Why do people follow others they don’t know ANYWAY? This would be like adding feeds to your RSS reader when you never have any interesting in reading the content. I just don’t understand this OR the people who immediately discount Twitter’s usefulness because of it.

  45. istara says:

    I find Twitter extremely useful and flexible, given the number of platforms you can follow it on. In a weird way, it’s like a mini text-based internet, with a few photos and links to external sites.

    I’m only following people I actually find interesting, whose tweets I want to read. And some newsfeeds. I am trying to keep my list limited because I don’t have all the time in the world to read thousands of tweets a day, and I don’t want to miss good tweets from people I have chosen to follow. I have just over 100 follows, and slightly fewer followers.

    I constantly get added by complete strangers with thousands, even tens of thousands of follows. No way are they going to read my tweets in all that noise. If in the (extremely rare) instance that their tweets are very interesting, I may follow back. But 99 times out of 100, I don’t.

    And when I don’t follow back, they always unfollow me again. Proving that all they were interested in is numbers, not actually what is going on in the Twittersphere.

  46. markdavidson says:

    Please check out my Twitter Counter Stats and let me know what you think: http://twittercounter.com/markdavidson/all

    Is my Twitter account a fake account? I’m very happy to answer questions about how I increase my follower count. I’ve been on Twitter since 7/15/2007 and consider myself somewhat of an expert. I’ve even shared on Twitter, how to increase one’s follower count.

    The spikes in my followers is usually an indication of when I’m actually posting on Twitter, rather than using some kind of automation.

    Have I gamed the system? Oh, yes. Just like every site that I’ve been on for the last 10 years, each site has a “human code”. There are different cultures and unspoken rules for each site. Twitter is no different. There are ways to make your Twitter profile more sticky. I try to provide two key things: Be entertaining and to provide quality information. Both things come down to one thing; create value.

    The key to Twitter is to either provide value with your posts, or to @Reply everyone who @replies you. (Or a combination of the two.) Engage, entertain, and inform.

    If you are on Twitter to brand yourself, stay focused. People are constantly building a cognitive map of their environment, and creating subconscious associations.

    Here’s are some specific things that I do, your mileage may vary…

    1st: I follow anyone who follows me.
    2nd: I respond to all @ Replies (or at least I used to. I’ve since found other ways to keep people interested and engaged.)
    3rd: I follow new people.

    For the actual mechanics, you can read my Twitter stream. Lately I’ve been experimenting by asking questions and telling stories using Twitpic. All comments, accusations, and kudos are warmly welcomed.

    Thank you to Rahsheen and The Vixy for the link to this blog article.

  47. owkaye says:

    Linnet, you said:

    “Bulk following and unfollowing and anything automated is not social activity and I haven’t yet grasped the point of doing it …”

    I think what you’re not grasping is the fact that some people use Twitter for business purposes — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this since Twitter use is almost completely open-ended without such restrictions.

    My friend is launching a bizarre new online auction service that guarantees half-price real estate to the winners, and he is financing these purchases with 100% in-house no-downpayment no-qualification loans at only 5% interest for the first 5 years. Amazing. But this guy is in no way the kind of person you’re going to find saying “interesting things” on Twitter or anywhere else for that matter. He is rather boring in fact, unless you’re keenly into business and then he will blow your socks off with his insights and innovations.

    So instead of a pleasant social experience he offers Twitterers a financial value — and people will need to understand this if they choose to follow him — or they will end up accusing him of being a Twitter abuser which of course he is not.

    Personally I think this is a “good thing” for Twitter. We all need to keep in mind that Twitter needs to find a way to generate income some day. Because of this they are more than likely observing and evaluating the many different ways people are using their system for business …

    One day, for better or for worse, Twitter may actually pattern their own revenue generating systems after some of the techniques a few of their current “business users” are introducing to them.

    Who says Twitter should serve only a social purpose?

  48. deeziner says:

    “but I remain skeptical of the motives of several accounts I’ve seen ”

    Sorry, but after reading through the article & comments, it still rates a big “so what?”

    Some good points were made that Twitter does not have a lot of rules & regulations that we “have” to follow or be branded “black hat” or whatever. Be skeptical – who cares? I don’t see any reason to block, harrass, annoy or denigrate people whose motives are not “pure” in your opinion.

    Who gets to say which motives are good, which are bad? Neither you nor me.

  49. Timmy says:

    Kinda sad it’s like they’re cheating to get more friends xD

  50. Kyle says:

    The first link under the evidence doesn’t work, but here is another similar post I wrote:

    http://kylelibra.com/2009/02/18/twitter-experiment-what-happens-when-you-stop-following-everyone/

  51. VlogHog says:

    It’s pointless. Will this bring you more vistors to your blog or whatever you’re trying to do?

  52. I did the same with http://twitter.com/twitexperiment

    It’s horribly easy, but at the same time, can’t really see the harm in it? Just don’t follow these accounts.

  53. jimconnolly says:

    A well written post – which shows how anyone can ‘gain’ thousands of follows.

    Nice work!

  54. hiroshi says:

    Nice article. It is not 100% correct though. Just guessing a user stats by a graph could not be correct every time. Some people are consistent, others may not be. I agree with deeziner. So What! Twitter is a free choice.

  55. False premise. Credibility is not established by the number of followers someone has, it is established by the quality of the posts.

    Judge who you follow (or block) by that and nothing else.

  56. Quicklet says:

    This is a great post, although the nice thing about twitter is the service is 100% opt in.. therefore if users are choosing to follow a twitter member back ( regardless if they are auto following or not ) then I guess we really shouldn’t care.. In my opinion this method almost help those business, ect.. who dont have a “celebrity” status that is going to organically grow their followers, they need a way to reach out to people. So in a way its just marketing. Keep up the great posts.

  57. Juile Roads says:

    Fantastic. This whole thing pisses me off to no end. When I started using Twitter, it was all so pure. I think these people are frauds – the more people can be educated by posts like yours, the better off Twitter will be. I hope the scum falls to the bottom of the bucket. Thanks for writing this…

  58. As an authentic user who by default immediately un- follows anyone who Tweets about their systems to acquire more and more I’m not at all surprised by your findings. I appreciate the fact that someone took the time to put this together as well so thank you. I think that for every step forward we take in a method to assign worth or credibility if you will to a user someone will come up with a way to manipulate it. Things like @#followFriday where you could honestly suggest someone has now become a covert operation where the same dozen or so names appear over and over and over again which I find ironic as those same dozen people spend less and less time on Twitter now than they ever did? I followed them for a reason and my remarks are “NOT” to taint them or to make myself feel better “They are my own personal observations” While on the subject of observations the easiest way for ANYONE to establish credibility is to view the updates. 2000 or near 2000 with 12 updates is an immediate FAIL their own moms don’t like them that much. It’s up to users themselves to clean up and monitor their own accounts. Yes I know it takes time and effort but most things that are any good do. If you don’t have the time, stay on the porch with the others, use your tools and tricks but…don’t bitch about it. Thanks again for the write up and the graphics really very nice work.

  59. Deborah says:

    You have said what I have been thinking for quite a while. This person never posts anything of any interest – and this person rarely tweets at all!! Some things in life don’t add up — and this one doesn’t!

  60. blackhat seo says:

    Sample size error.

  61. Buy creatine says:

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  62. Your blog is very interresting for me, i will come back here..

  63. Ben Bonilla says:

    As a top Twitter business user, I was sent an advance copy of the Tweet Adder System for my review. This is by far the best Networking Tool I have used for Twitter!

  64. Twitter_Tips says:

    With new following limits instituted a few weeks ago this is no longer valid. And even going back sevral months, this was only partly true.

    TwitterGrader.com (or Twitterholic.com), mostly due to Twitter API issues, sometimes does not register counts for several days. Then when it does, there is a large jump.

  65. Thanks for nice tip. I am just going to check it now. There must be some fake followers on my twitter account as I have 20,000+ followers.

  66. arfandia says:

    nice tips and info thanks for this :)

  67. Cathy says:

    This website has info on how to rapidly grow followers and how people do it (tools, processes, etc) – http://www.twitteruserswhowillfollowyouback.com

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  70. William says:

    Does twitter do anything about these users who manipulate their followers numbers?

  71. burkeusa says:

    Great post.

    I went to the web site retweetability however, I note the list of featured accounts, on random sampling – most have been suspended or account does not exist?

    I put my non-spam, non manipulated, genuine username into the search and it did not pull any info.

  72. Quin Fabre says:

    Admin, I totally agree with what you shared here could be very useful to TWITTER that they should have a system that detects a twitter user with a fake follower account. Oh by the way I am Quin a model of Pakline http://www.paklite.com.au. Thank you for reading this guys. cheers! :-)

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  74. Thank you, i will come back here

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  76. Ava Samone says:

    Who cares!

  77. twitter nice post fake..

  78. siva chandan says:

    Someone plagiarized your blog post.Wonder whether you knew about this.

    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1LTUBZ3kLGruio14lQNtdsAcsBpTmUCIsmePx0sQD4TM&pli=1

  79. facesesli says:

    ut the transition tool and other changes actually discourage or eliminate some privacy protections that Facebook users currently employ.

  80. facebook says:

    This new page will be available once you’ve completed the transition to the new settings

    • facebook says:

      Some of us connect with our actual friends on Facebook and leave it at that. It’s just software so like anything else, how it’s used depends on the person using it.

  81. facebook says:

    it really should default to full lockdown. not everyone even knows about the security settings or reads about it

  82. sohbet says:

    Thanks for the insight. I agree that the need for reserves is based on the current situation.

  83. badoo says:

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  84. facee says:

    Twitter and see the real light. When it shines directly in your eyes, you’ll notice then. And please, by all means cut the cllutter and don’t Twitter what you had for breakfast; only your mom cares! So send her an old-fashioned email instead!

  85. webuyventura says:

    For the last 2 months iam waiting for this type of posting.Really thanks for posting.

  86. I really like this informations coz I hate spammers in my twitter account.

  87. Imagine my shock when I Goggled a certain someone who I thought was a solid individual. What’s worse, is my KLOUT score went up after he listed me. :/

  88. Excuse auto correct for my typo!

  89. generationend says:

    I’ve got 3 Twitter followers. :(

  90. Maureen says:

    Reblogged this on The Outdoors Betty and commented:
    I was just having this conversation with a coworker the other day about valid followers on social networks! Great research!

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