I received a list that included the "Top Fake Artists" who had bought followers on Twitter. It included many well-known electronic music DJs, with their stage names and Twitter accounts.
Wait a minute! This is a very serious issue. You're making information that could be very damaging, public. Is this damage really necessary? If this were actually true, don't you think they'd be frustrated enough knowing that they've had to buy fans/followers, unable to get them through their own work and effort? When you're prepared to make such a claim, you'd better be 100% sure of what you're saying and make sure that your source is reliable enough to put your credibility, name and reputation at stake. Yes, that's what you're doing!
Otherwise, you'll just be another "cheap talker", someone who spends their time looking for a way to sabotage the work and dreams of others, simply because someone -even themselves- sabotaged their life. Please, don't be that kind of person! Wouldn't it be better to speak of things that can be changed or improved, things that should be empowered, trying to help or contribute.
Something Just Doesn't Add Up
As a result of this, I started testing with brands, famous people, regular users and even my own clients, using a tool called Status People. This tool supposedly measures the level of "fake" fans that a user may have in Twitter. I was surprised that, according to this, many relevant, famous people with a large number of followers have many "fakes" in their accounts. For instance, Piqué had 30% "fakes" and Josef Ajram had 50%. 30% fakes of 4 million fans? 50% "fakes" in 120,000 followers? Something just doesn't add up.
Another part of the figures shows inactive followers which are also a high percentage of many accounts. OK, but my question is: What do they base their calculations on to say whether a user is active or inactive? And fake?
You Cannot Measure What's Not In Your Reach
I contacted them to ask whether their service was 100% reliable. They told me that their tool follows every tweet made by a user in their timeline as they cannot access the Twitter database. Of course they can't. What this means is that this type of tool follows every tweet and if a specific user publishes nothing in a few days, they configure their account to "protect tweets" or if it is based on location (the tool doesn't use geo-location), they define their user as inactive. Does this add up? It doesn't to me.
I think this is a clear example of what is causing social media distruption, making the ego-system we live in bigger, distracting us and preventing us from doing the work that really matters, doing something. These tools, like many others: Klout, Peer Index and a few others (I'm afraid they matter so little to me that I can't even be bothered to remember their names), simply try to get users to subscribe so they can store their information. And what's more, some of them even try to get you to pay for the service!!! Their service is poor and unreliable. Some will probably close and, others, simply forgotten.
If They're Fake, the Big Ones Will Know
Facebook recently started a process which deletes fake fans from pages, as well as blocking fake users (spam). Twitter has already started doing the same thing.
If we get carried along and work like these odd assessment systems do, we'll see that their Facebook page has 933 fans and no one "likes" their posts. So, we could say that their fans are inactive; that is, they're also fake.
Lady Gaga has 28 million followers: 34% "fake," 38% inactive and 28% good. Will she have really paid for all those millions of fans? (Is there an emoticon for über-sceptic?)
The only ones who can actually say how many "fakes" there are, are Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. I think there's no further discussion possible; not from me anyway.
Opportunity Isn't in Accepting
Forget about scores, ranks, points, bonus points or any other classification method. They're just trying to fit you into a system. Once they have you, they'll forget about you and try to find other sheep to get into the herd. Instead, stand upright, take a step forward, look ahead: we're living amazing times, make the most of it!
As long as there are still people sabotaging, intimidating, frustrating and cheating, our job will be increasingly relevant.
Bonus: if you were wondering what the result of my "fake" analysis was, I did it while I wrote this; I wasn't going to but I though it would be fun. So, there you have it: 6% "fakes", 25% inactive and 69% good. I can't afford to buy as many followers as Lady Gaga! (another über-sceptic emoticon here)
Photo credit: el Colombiano.