Let me introduce you to Reg the Duck.
Let me introduce you to Reg the Duck. He is the character I have chosen to represent myself in an experiment that I’ve been conducting on Twitter for the past couple of months. He is just a front for what all of the millions of users of Twitter represent – the hunger for followers.
We all just want out recognition and fifteen minutes of fame. Thanks to Twitter and such things, it has never been easier. You just have to hope that the wittiest comment you’ll ever make in your life is recognised by the rich and famous with a ‘retweet’ and your luck is in.
There must be a positive correlation between how interesting and appealing you are and how many thousands of Twitter followers you have, right? Nothing screams intelligence and wit like hundreds of thousands of mindless drones cluttering your newsfeed. Who doesn’t want to litter their lives with ridiculous amounts of people they don’t know?
To follow, or not to follow?
What else is this oddly competitive social media for, if not to brag about your popularity to the extent that anything you might actually want to read is buried among the sheer mass of “RT FOR FOLLOW BACK” and “WANT TO GAIN 500 FOLLOWERS A MINUTE? CLICK HERE!”
I was curious about the agenda of the users I have come across on the site that want to rack up as many followers as possible, without any care in the world about what they are actually saying or doing with their lives. I found myself (well, Reg did) in a world of retweets and shameless promotions, and something I’d never heard of called a ‘follow train.’
It was all a bit weird, and I have felt incredibly out of place.
Nevertheless, for the meaning of research I left my discomfort at the door and have managed to rack up Reg’s followers to 1,300. That’s more than four times as many as I’ve had in the whole 4 years I’ve had the slightest Twitter presence. It’s disheartening really!
At least it was at first, until I realised the calibre of people that would be willing to follow such a farce of an account. Most are promoters of protein shakes or rubbish websites. Some are teens obsessed with Justin Bieber and One Direction. Others are just porn.
Most of my success in building up my follow count was in the first 48 hours or so, when I incurred an influx of Arabic interest.
I realised recently that I’ve been missing a trick in this bizarre retweet obsessed place. I reached a follow limit of 2,000, which was demoralizing because it felt like my experiment had hit a wall.
I wasn’t about to go trailing through 2,000 accounts to see who hadn’t followed me back. That just seemed depressing and although this may be hard to believe I just didn’t have the time!
Fortunately, I did a bit of research and found an app online that is willing to sort through for you called Twitnerd. It’s probably a bit invasive and there’s a good chance it tweets on my behalf, but as long as it’s Reg’s name being dragged through the mud I couldn’t care less.
The point is I was back on track. There’s no limit to where Reg can go now! Give him a follow if you want an insight into this brave new world, but I warn you—it’s not pretty.
Have your say on this experiment and the role of follow back accounts on Twitter in the comments section below.