Screw Relationships, I Want Numbers!

I’ll save the buildup and get right into what started this post at 1:30 a.m. this morning. There was a lot chatter yesterday on Twitter about a new ‘service’ that basically asks this question:

So you’re looking to get a massive following on twitter?

The site is TweeterGetter and apparently Gary McCaffrey guarantees that you’ll get 16,000 (give or take however many thousand) followers in 30 days. It doesn’t require you to follow anyone back as you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the thousands of followers you’ll be getting, of whom you have had absolutely no real interaction with.

I’m sure you can sense my disdain for this service and the negative thinking that it promotes. The thought of ‘auto-piloting’ the follow process and building a humongous following has SPAM written all over it. Gary, and the unfortunate that have taken part in this, fail to realize the value of building relationships vs. just having a large follower count.

There’s a lack of real interaction, conversation and relationship building with this type of ‘service’. If anything, it’s a disservice to Twitter and its community – but more so, to those who have signed up in hopes of adding a ton of users without realizing its adverse effects.

I’ve always said, as I think many would agree that Twitter is about mutually beneficial relationships and building your community around that, not around 16,000 followers that you don’t have one clue about. Please do me and the rest of the community a favor and not follow in the footsteps of Gary and the people he’s convinced.

What are your thoughts on TweeterGetter? How do you think it affects the Twitter community?

22 comments On Screw Relationships, I Want Numbers!

  • A few of us have been banging on about this one all afternoon, Sonny. Our best bet is to keep reporting to terms@twitter.com and using the #pyramid hashtag. Can’t believe the Twitter management team won’t pick up on this soon.

    Good post!

  • I tried this for what I think is a legitimate reason. I have a small following of about 25. All of my followers originated from my food blog. Since common psychology says that friends share common interests, I didn’t think this would hurt. My idea was that hopefully the people following me have friends that would be interested in my posts.

  • Sonny, I’m not only opposed to this new ‘service’, I’m opposed to ALL the little applications that suggest who you should follow on Twitter. I used one of them (can’t remember what it was called now) and was just stunned at how inappropriate the suggestions were.

    Growing your followers is a mindfully organic process, i.e. it’s not going to happen without time and effort, but it should also happen naturally, in the same way that any other sort of friendship or collaboration does.

    I think folks who worry too much about how many followers they have (and those who tweet about how many followers they have) are 1. exhibiting very bad taste in the latter case, 2. show how very little they’ve understood about social media, and 3. want a quick fix that just isn’t going to happen – in the same way that PR clients just launching a company all want front page newspaper coverage. It’s just not very likely to happen.

  • @Bill – I’m not so sure that it’s something that’s violating Twitter’s TOS. It’s disheartening at times to see the hit-and-run schemes of adding people and increasing their numbers but the best thing that can and eventually does happen, is it eventually dies out on its own.

    @Chris – I’m glad you chimed in with your perspective, as there’s always two sides to the story. I understand your thinking that common interests will lead to similar followers but it’s the inorganic way and lack of building real relationships with these people, is what’s bugging me. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts and would like to hear how it actually has worked out for you after a few days.

    @Ruth – You nailed it in your second paragraph. Building a community is an organic process as these are real people and real relationships we look to build. The premise of the site to increase your followers with no effort at all is kind of mind boggling since Twitter, and other networks, take a lot of time and effort to build that community of like-minded people.

  • I’ve heard that many people have seen their following grow 100+ during this thing. Mine has grown by 6 so far after 3 hours. Of those 6, 2 have sent me DM saying that they liked my blog (meaning they are relevant people to my twitter purpose).

    I think the people that are seeing huge growth were already twitter “sluts” to begin with.

    And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the other side to this.

    I’ll keep you updated on how my following comes.

    -Chris

  • Having looked at the whole thing some more, I think I agree with you, Sonny – this isn’t the kind of thing that Twitter can actually sustain. The Twitter Tarts would have used hook and crook to build big followings anyway, and the regular people who have been sucked in will soon realise that they’ve built a following that isn’t actually worth much. Besides, the mathematics suggest that later adopters are only going to get a handful of extra followers as a result of using this service.

    What bugs me is that this guy should exploit the community in this way. In that respect, I still hope that he gets his just deserts – his account suspended and API access denied to his IP.

  • Hi Sonny,

    So I can amass 15,000 spammers in 30 days or less? I can hardly wait. All kidding aside, I know there are, sadly, too many people out there who believe that collecting followers as a numbers game is a good idea.

    When will they understand that the real value of Twitter and other social networks comes from in being authentic and building your community one conversation at a time?

    Best,
    Daria

  • I can’t say that I’d be grateful if someone started to follow me because of TweeterGetter. Not at all, actually. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if that’s where some of my newest followers are coming from.

    It makes Twitter seem analogous to being an E-mail list user by spammers.

  • @Daria – It’s tough line, even for us who ‘get it’, to toe. The space changes every day and we all are learning as there aren’t any set rules (though we have our norms). There are those who will always look for the short cut and those who will bust their butt and spend the time building their communities.

    @Mark – That’s a spot on analogy, Mark. The whole process makes their motives for using Twitter seem disingenuous. One thing we have an advantage on though is that we actually take a look at who we follow and can determine fairly quickly if one is hoarding followers or not.

  • “Sonny, I’m not only opposed to this new ’service’, I’m opposed to ALL the little applications that suggest who you should follow on Twitter. I used one of them (can’t remember what it was called now) and was just stunned at how inappropriate the suggestions were.”

    Ditto… what she said. Anything that circumvents the need for human interaction is NOT okay in my book. Can’t, won’t, go there, no matter how well-intentioned the creator. And, I repent for any I’ve tried heretofore.

  • I’ve posted enough replies on LinkedIn question forums over the past 24 hours to say I’m opposed to MLM sites like this for the same reason you are.

    That said, if you use this service and follow me, I’ll never know; so where’s the harm?

  • @Ari – I understand what you’re saying but with my experience, the typical user that tries to implement this type of service doesn’t converse and has a pretty drastic follower/following ratio.

    There are exceptions, of course, but it goes further than us as individuals, it’s about the community and the fact that this type of service dilutes the relationship factor of Twitter and puts the thought of it being a numbers game into many new, and veteran, users.

  • Sonny, thanks for the post with your twitter following hopefully we can squash this. I am picking on who I follow only because I want value not quantity. I would not want anyone following me that I could not help.

    thanks again

  • Sonny,

    What I’ve noticed is that people choose to do social media in their own way and the bonus is that some engage (like you) and some are all about numbers. At the end of the day it shows when their numbers mean nothing and no one is clicking through to their content.

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  • Your article is right on the money. I too believed in having a mass of people following me at twitter for no reason at all. The only thing that would have given me is bump me up on the list people like Guy Kawasaki sit (most followers) but it defeats the real purpose. Don’t take me wrong, I still would like more followers but not through a program. It’s about people and that’s how it should be.

    I recently wrote my twitter experience in my blog that talks about this.
    http://thegreenjar.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/its-a-twitterific-world/

  • Hi Sonny,
    I am not sure why anyone obsesses about twitter followers, and I am even more sure that not many are really being honest about why they fret over twitter followers. None of this really monetizes for hardly anyone does it? Do folks think that the twitter Santa will suddenly show up once they cross over some superficial twitter follower threshold? How many people can you really connect with anyway, really connect with, a handful maybe.

    So is a twitter follower obsession a search for a pot of gold that doesn’t exist?

  • Definitely agreed, Sonny. Good post!

  • I see no reason to have a huge following if:1. These people aren’t really reading what you write 2. Don’t go to your blog or website and follow it 3. These people aren’t all unique followers.

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