Monday, 13 July 2009

Declaring War on the Twitter Frauds

There’s something that’s been bugging me of late. Since Twitter has exploded into the mainstream, more and more companies, individuals and sites have been springing up which claim to be able to artificially grow your number of followers in an instant. What’s more, there are plenty of people out there who seem to think this is a genius idea. 0 to 1000 followers in a few seconds flat? My, aren’t you popular! That’s sure to impress the suits who insisted you start a Twitter feed for their company because they’ve suddenly realised they need a social media strategy.

I hate to ruin the party, but isn’t this completely missing the point? The idea of Twitter – particularly from a business point of view – is that it allows you to form valuable, personal connections with like-minded people who are genuinely interested in your opinions/services/products and vice versa. What possible purpose can it serve to have a following made up of users who either don’t exist or have absolutely no relevance to you whatsoever?

In the same way that Youtube cheats pay to increase the number of views to their videos, so Twitter frauds are creating a false reality just to puff up their own egos – or those of their bosses and clients. The practice delivers zero commercial benefits: these people aren’t going to form a relationship with you or your brand and help you convert their following into sales, work or footfall.

All it does is cheapen the entire concept of Twitter and cause a headache for everybody else. 300 followers who are grown organically and are bona fide fans of your brand and Twitter commentary are worth infinitely more than 30,000 fake followers – but try telling that to the powers that be who just look at the numbers.

And therein lies the problem. When using Twitter and other social media, businesses need to embrace a major cultural shift and understand that it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s about connecting with the right people and having conversations which give your brand personality and humanity, not blindly pushing sales messages to as many people as possible.

Until this sea change occurs, we’ve got a battle on our hands. As for the Twitter frauds, they may be winning the numbers war, but in my book it’s a very hollow victory indeed.


  1. I couldn't agree more, Twitter should investigate the twitt spammers aswell they drive me crazy!!!

  2. Well said!! More people need to realise that the whole point of twitter is to connect and engage with customers and potential customers; it's not just a numbers game!

    From a security perspective too, don't people worry about blindly handing out their username and passwords to these sites? Granted it's not exactly giving out your online banking details but they can get your email address, and a lot of people use the same password for all their online services!