Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twitter Follower:Following Ratio means nothing

A number of my friends on twitter were recently unfollowed by @EleanorConway. I don't mind the odd unfollow, hell I've unfollowed uninteresting people before. But what Eleanor Conway (or her Social Media manager) did was mass following loads of people. Once they reached a certain followback target, she started unfollowing. In the past two days her follow count dropped from 8000+ to 42. As I type this her follower count is 8200 (and dropping as people got wind of her tactics).
What she did was a well known tactic of gaining a high follower:following ratio: follow, wait for a follow back, then unfollow. It's easy and anybody on Twitter can do it. They follow loads of people (in thousands), then some time later (this could be days/weeks or even months), they mass unfollow almost everyone. At the end of this campaign, they will have high number of followers making them look like some hot shot C-list celeb when in fact most of us have never heard of her. I have seen companies like @AudioTechnicaUK do that as well.

Do I have ill feelings for her? No. In the one week since she started following me, she has done nothing that interests me, so much so I think I would have eventually I would have unfollowed her myself. Would she has gotten to where she is if it weren't for the old follow then unfollow tactic? Perhaps, but we will never know. All we know is she got there using the dirty route. It would be better if she attempted to engage with her audiences rather than cast them aside to get a number that would satisfy her ego. It's sad really.

The lesson here is, when deciding to follow on Twitter, to know that the follower:following ratio means nothing. I have friends who have low follower counts, but I value their opinion just as equally (if not more) as some random dude with 50,000 "followers".

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