One of the best and worst things about modern social media is the ability to know exactly how many followers or Facebook “likes” you, your friends, your competitors, and your enemies have. It’s useful to be able to rank yourself among other people, but it’s not hard to get overly concerned with boosting your stats. But metrics quickly become muddled when one realizes the mere “following” numbers are not totally transparent.

Case in point: a midsize law firm was publicly called out for some sketchy Tweetness, now the firm is learning the hard way that not all Twitter followers are created equal…

Legal Cheek explains the sudden rise and fall of British firm Blavo & Co.‘s Twitter following:

Oh yeah, it’s the ol’ fake profile with a photo of a pretty, mostly naked girl trick. Even though that ruse is older than MySpace, apparently it still works. But anyway, everyone point and laugh, Nelson style. HaHA!

Actually, though, this is a somewhat common strategy employed people who want to be Twitter famous — even when they’re already real-life famous.

A New York Times piece (one of the paper’s always entertaining trend pieces) dealt with the phenomenon back in August:

Twitter followers are sold in two ways: “Targeted” followers, as they are known in the industry, are harvested using software that seeks out Twitter users with similar interests and follows them, betting that many will return the favor. “Generated” followers are from Twitter accounts that are either inactive or created by spamming computers– often referred to as “bots.”

Buyers and sellers see nothing wrong with it. “Buying followers generated by bots is against Twitter’s terms and frowned upon by the public,” [Will] Mitchell said. “However, it is perfectly legal.”

Twitter doesn’t like the practice. In fact, the company has sued several alleged Twitter spammers. But more than anything else, despite whatever “cachet” comes with “fake” followers, it destroys the point of Twitter — building a following by sharing information that people care about — and instead turns it into another form of bean counting.

But whatever makes you happy, I guess. If you’ve got money to burn, why not spend it on imaginary Twitter followers? The paper says Mitt Romney may have used the technique, so why can’t a law firm too?

When life gives you lemons, just say, “F**k the lemons,” and make Twitter followers.

Law Firm Exclaims ‘Delight’ At Having 43,000 Twitter Followers (But Fails To Mention They’re Almost All Fake) [Legal Cheek]
Buying Their Way to Twitter Fame [New York Times]


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