Twitter fake-followers and blog spammers

I’ve lost count of the number of spam comments I’ve received that say my content and design are “fastidious.” Google Translator, anyone?

Some in particular made me wonder, “How on earth did you read and make sense of my blog post, if you clearly can’t see how your own comment is barely intelligible. It may use English words, but it uses them in the way you might expect from an inept translator. Or a machine.

Robo-spam? Are there people out there who just cut and paste spam messages into Google Translator and send the results to the com-boxes of every blog they know? Because that would explain some of the messages I’ve gotten. Some of them make me laugh. Others kinda creep me out.

The comments on my blog’s design always leave me scratching my head, since I use one of WordPress’s free themes and the only thing I’ve really changed about it is the picture. I like the design, myself. But it’s not exactly original.

As for fake-followers on Twitter, I’m talking about followers who offer to share the crap out of something you’ve posted for $5. Or followers who say they can get you thousands of new followers for a modest fee.

One in particular actually wrote in their profile blurb, “the fastest, cheapest and easiest real looking followers for your twitter!”

Never mind the fact they don’t even bother to capitalize Twitter’s name. The first thing I noticed were the words “real looking.”

Do they mean real followers who look at my tweets and even retweet some of them. Or do they mean “real-looking” (i.e. fake) followers, probably through dummy accounts, just to make it look as though I have thousands of adoring fans, even though most of them have no real followers themselves (more dummy accounts, I suspect, if they have any at all).

I’m thinking they mean “real-looking,” because how on earth can they guarantee they’ll get me thousands of new followers who actually care about the content I post?

I don’t know whether to laugh or to send a message to this follower: “Please don’t waste your time following me. I’m not interested.” He may leave, anyway, when a week passes and I haven’t followed back or asked for more information about his “twitter packages.”

I reach out to people on Twitter whose content interests me. Sometimes they follow back, hopefully because they find my content interesting, too. Sometimes, though, they don’t follow back. Maybe because they’re already following thousands and have become more selective. If I’m still interested in their content, I don’t mind if they don’t follow back, though it’s always gratifying when they do.

But when I read from some bloggers out there that it looks bad if you follow more people than are following you, because it supposedly makes you look more like a “nobody” than a real “thought leader” —  whatever that is — I want to remind them that there’s more than one type of Twitter user. And all types (if not all users) contribute something of value.

I guess, if you see value as a completely subjective thing, every user contributes something of value — even if he’s the only one who values the content he shares. Such a user, though, is unlikely ever to become an “influencer,” because his content doesn’t matter to anyone but himself.

But then, everyone has days like that, right? You post something you think is inspired, and . . . nobody notices. Or cares. I’m an influencer in my own home — as a wife and a mom — but on Twitter, I’m a pipsqueak.

And when I retweet something I enjoyed, sometimes I’ll come back and find that the author of that tweet thanked someone else for the RT — someone with tens of thousands of followers. But no thanks for me and my 123 followers. I guess they think, “Oh, gee, that really helps.” I might as well be the Twitter equivalent of a black hole. At least for now.

It burns a little, yeah. But, moving on . . .

There are the Twitter celebs who already have an audience and, therefore, probably don’t have to wait long before they amass thousands upon thousands of followers, even if they don’t follow any of them back.

There are the Twitter newbies, like me, who don’t have much of an audience yet, but who like to follow the Twitter streams of those whose content interests them, whether or not those followed also become followers.

There are Twitter veterans — or “proficients” — who started out as Twitter newbies, and who have amassed thousands of followers over time. If their followers number in the tens of thousands, they probably don’t follow as many, because keeping track of that many tweets would be a full-time job in itself. They’d miss far more than they’d catch, and content from their favorites would be lost in an ocean of tweets that didn’t interest them nearly as much. So, the ratio of followers to followed makes them look more like “influencers” and less like “followers.”

I’ve never really been much of a leader. On the other hand, I’m not so great at following, either. I’d like to think of myself as a catalyst, but I suspect my guardian angel sees me more as comic relief.

Catalyst is such a neat word. But catalysts need something to catalyze. And someone has to care about what the catalyst catalyzes. And then, that someone has to care enough to spread the word.

And I really don’t know what to do with that.

I want to write blog posts that matter to someone besides me, because I want my readers to know they’re not alone. So, resonance does matter. It’s just that, as I wrote in an earlier post, it’s not enough.

I’ve met people whose words resonated with me, and I thought there was a connection between us because of that resonance.

I was wrong. ‘Nuff said.

Words that resonate aren’t enough. Tweets that are tweetable aren’t enough, either. Neither is it enough to have thousands upon thousands following me on Twitter because my name has come to be associated with excellence in writing (through my blog and through published works). Not that I would know what that’s like. Because I don’t.

But I don’t know who in his right mind would pay someone to create thousands of “real-looking” followers for him–just to make his ratio of followers to followed look more impressive.

Because that’s not the point of being on Twitter. What good are thousands of dummy-account followers when they won’t read (much less share) any of the content you post?

I’d feel as connected to “real-looking” dummy-account followers as I do to blog spammers who use Google Translator to tell me my content or design is “fastidious” in mangled English that only a machine would consider persuasive.

Who among you would feel more valued because you had thousands of fake followers to offset the mere hundreds whom you follow?

Is anyone that desperate?

And if they fall for these spammy offers, does that mean they themselves are superficial, or that they assume most other Twitter users — and, in particular, the people whose attention they want — are that superficial?

I don’t know if you do the same, but if I go through someone’s Twitter stream, and I don’t find a single thing that interests me, I’m not going to follow that person, no matter how many thousands of followers he has already.

In fact, after seeing Twitter profiles of people who offer to amass thousands of “real-looking” Twitter followers, I’m kinda wondering if someone whose Twitter stream is littered with spam or fluff — popular (but ultimately empty) slogans, horoscope messages, or repeated offers to saturate the social media universe with my content (for a modest fee) — has more fake followers than real ones.

Do I really want to be pelted with slogans like “Problems exist only in our minds” ? I don’t care who’s responsible for that slogan, because it’s stupid. Real problems exist outside our minds. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t get out much or hasn’t experienced any real problems of his own. Or he’s convinced himself that those real problems are “all in his head.”

In any case, if I read a Twitter stream full of insipid garbage like this, I think, “No way am I following this one. Waste. Of. Time.”

Ditto with a comment attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds talk about ideas. Lesser minds talk about events. Small minds talk about people.”

Oh, really?

I love ideas, but people are way more interesting. And events? They can be interesting, too. Especially when people are involved. The idea that those who talk about people have smaller minds than those who talk about ideas (and presumably wouldn’t be caught dead talking about people) is ridiculous.

But, it may be she meant people who gossip — who speak disparagingly of other people, for their own entertainment and to make themselves feel superior to those about whom they gossip.

In which case, her comment makes more sense. But without the context, I don’t know exactly what she meant.

And therein lies the problem with “soundbites.” More tweetable than long discourses, I’ll agree. But easier to misinterpret.

I love tweets that make me think. I also love tweets that give me a glimpse of funny situations in real people’s lives. I’m also a sucker for crazy trivia that catches me off-guard and makes me laugh, in spite of whatever contrary mood might have the upper hand for the moment.

I’ll pass on quotable quotes, too — if I understand and agree with them.

But I don’t have a lot of time each day to spend on Twitter, so I’d rather only follow people whose Twitter streams have content that interests me. So, I’ll probably never follow thousands of people, because there’s NO way I could keep up with all the content.

Because of that, I probably won’t gather as many followers as quickly as those who put more time into Twitter and who reach out to more people each day. Some days, I’ll reach out to several new people whose Twitter streams interest me. It’s just too easy, though, to spend hours going over tweets, clinking on links, reading articles, re-tweeting, reading some more, until I realize how much time I’ve spent and have to tear myself away.

Which reminds me: I really should up my vitamin D intake.

What about you? What kind of content do you like to tweet or retweet? If you find you’ve got new followers, what makes you more likely to follow back?

What’s the craziest spammy comment you’ve ever received on your blog?

Or what’s the most memorable spammy sales-pitch you’ve ever read from a Twitter follower?

Please share, and make this post even better! And let me know if you disagree with something I’ve written, and why.

Thank  you. 🙂












2 thoughts on “Twitter fake-followers and blog spammers

  1. Yes! You get it! Fake Twitter accounts, follow-for-follows and I can’t tell you how much I hate the comments that are obviously bullshit. Twitter blackholes, yeah, me too. I’ve even tried analyzing when my Twitter followers are online, when my Tweets get the most interaction…might as well spit into the wind, right?
    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I’m following your blog because I enjoy the posts I’ve read so far. Because you DO have value, your words DO resonate. You keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading your thoughts.


    1. Thank you so much, Carolyn! I actually just started following your blog, too, after reading a couple posts. You writ very well, and your blog posts are thoughtful and interesting. Plus, I love Pinterest, too, so I’m following some of your boards.
      Your posts have value, too, and I’m so glad we connected! Thank you for your kind words, which have brightened my morning (we had a rough night with sick kids throwing up). I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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