Social media stalkers, set aside some time - this Cool Tool's for you. : )
Ever come across a Twitter user with thousands of followers and seven tweets? Chances are good (c'mon - it's pretty much certain) that they've been buying followers on the "social media black market." I won't bother going into why this is senseless and stupid. But I will share with you a web app that's exposing these Twitter Fakers for what they are.
While the ranks of those who inflate their follower count with paid-for fakes is not always quite as obvious as the example above, there's no doubt it's a growing problem in social media, creating thousands of fake, duplicate and "bot" accounts and generally just causing annoyance to those of us who actually want to have a meaningful social media experience. In fact, most of us have at least some fake accounts following us by no fault of our own. But if the fakes even come close to outweighing the real thing... you got some 'splaining to do.
Just this morning I ran across an article on Fast Company about a new web app by StatusPeople that seems to be surprisingly good at telling you just who should probably be fessing up. It won't stop anyone from still selling social followers of course. But as more of the buyers experience the shame of being discovered as a sham, perhaps the whole practice will die down a bit.
I know you're dying to see how you and your own followers stack up, so go ahead - take a minute and
Cool, right? Or not. Depends on your results, I guess.
StatusPeople launched the app on July 13 in response to an incident where someone, as revenge, purchased 40,000 fake followers for a blogger who had just outed another social media power player as buying fake followers. And speaking of following - you still following this? Crazy, I know. But buying followers is now not just a way to make yourself look good, but even a way to make someone else look bad (in fact, Mitt Romney's camp is now claiming just that).
Since the launch, over 30,000 people have signed up for the app and over 50,000 checks have been run. (Cue the cut of "I'll Be Watching You" here.)
Is it the end of the Social Media Black Market? I hope so, though probably not. There will always be people who spend their time and effort trying to game the system. But at the end of the day, those who fall for this approach will have gained nothing but a bunch of bots at best, and an impending moment in the Social Media Spotlight of Shame at worst.
So the answer is simple folks - just keep on keepin' it real.
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