Twitter Faux-Popularity

There’s some sort of strange behavior going on that I can’t figure out. Just about every day for the last few weeks, somebody entirely random has started to follow me on Twitter. These people include people with real jobs, weird political spam, and who-knows-why.

I think what’s going on is some form of self-viral marketing, where the person figures if they send 20 messages, one person will become their friend, and then they’ll have more Followers, which will get them closer to… something. That’s clearly what this person is doing as she welcomes her new Followers.

Either that, or people are associating some kind of value with having a very long “Following” list. I have no idea what that value would be – it’s like subscribing to and then bragging about reading a lot of blogs in your RSS feed (which I thought was reserved for megalomaniacs, but at least in that case there’s a reason), but somehow even less interesting.

Am I missing something?

(If you don’t know me, there’s really no reason to follow me on Twitter. Heck, if you do know me, there’s still no reason.)

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4 Responses to “Twitter Faux-Popularity”

  1. tODD Says:

    I assumed it has something to do with Google spamming (plus a bit of social engineering). After all, Twitter wisely doesn’t link from your profile to the people following you, because that would allow any spammer to follow you and get a link to his profile, which naturally has a link to the attention-seeking page.

    But it’s become a part of Twitter culture (at least, so I’ve read) to follow people who follow you: “Well, if this person was nice (and clever) enough to follow me, sure I’ll follow them back!” Plays into one’s ego, since someone cares what you think, or so it seems.

    And if 1/20th of those a spammer follows follow him back, then that’s a pretty good return on self- or google-promotion. Maybe?

  2. Marty Says:

    Yeah, I get those frequently. Even better, midgardmoo, which sends out nothing but people-connected and people-disconnected notices, gets a new random follower at least once a week.

    But a lot of people automatically follow-back people who follow them. So, I dunno.

    I don’t follow them back, and I’ve been considering blocking anybody I don’t know, who follows me, who has an order of magnitude more follows than followers.

  3. Scott Ruthfield Says:

    Marty, I often block them too – but then I realize I’m not actually doing anything, since my stream is publicly available.

    Definitely seems like a spam-style promotion engine.

  4. Stop Twitter Spammers with this Greasemonkey script « ScottRu Says:

    […] Twitter Spammers with this Greasemonkey script In February I wrote about people who follow you on Twitter for no good reason. Since then I’ve probably received a few dozen more requests from entirely random […]

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