The Most Ineffective Marketing of All

In Tech and Internet by Daniel M. Clark5 Comments

I've noted before that I really don't care who follows me on Twitter. Spammer, scammer, porn bot, marketer, whatever – I don't care. That doesn't mean I don't notice things in my follower list, though. I gain new followers infrequently enough that I opt to recieve emails from Twitter telling me when someone new follows me. I notice.

I've been using Twitter for just over three years. In that time, I've amassed about 950 followers. Now, I'm not foolish enough to believe that I've got 950 people paying attention to me, but the number is what it is. Over the past day or two, that number has gone up by over a hundred, putting me at 1,075 (at the time of this writing). Three years, 950. Less than three days, another 125 – and growing.

Now, I'd like to say that it's due to something that I wrote here or something that I posted somewhere else, but the truth is that every single person who has followed me in the past couple of days has been the result of my joining the 30 Day Challenge. All of the “people” who started following me have around 5,000 followers, they're following about an equal amount, and they have anywhere from 0 to 100 tweets. That's right, zero tweets. Some of these people racked up 5,000 followers without tweeting a damn thing.

Do I care if they're following me? Nope. Nothing's changed in that regard. Will I follow any of them back? Hell, no. These people provide no value. They're all – every single one of them – pitching various internet get-rich-quick schemes. You have to be either brain dead or one of them to follow any of them back. Come to think of it, I'm not sure those two things are mutually exclusive.

Update, June 10th

Interestingly, nearly all the followers I picked up have disappeared. I don't know if it's because Twitter deleted their accounts (possible, even likely) or if it's because they all simultaneously figured out that I wasn't going to follow them back. Either way, they're gone now.


  1. Great question. Just to test a theory, I started up a new Twitter account and *only* followed the three 30 Day Challenge leaders. Within minutes – literally, minutes – the account had three followers that all matched the description I gave above. I started that account about 4 hours ago, and it now has 53 followers. It's not linked from anywhere, so it's not getting a mix of followers from different places.

    My guess? There is a script that users can run that checks for new followers on other peoples' accounts and can auto-follow those followers. They're seeing that I followed the 30DC leaders, and their script follows me automatically.

    That's my theory, anyway.

  2. I heard something the other day about the follower numbers on Twitter inexplicably fluctuating. I'm not sure what day it was, but that might have been the issue?

    Or yeah, spammers for sure.

  3. That could be, but the timing of it was very suspicious. Almost immediately after following those three guys I had that influx of followers, and then they all disappeared at the same time. I'm leaning toward the “Twitter slapped 'em” theory at this point.

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