Monday, February 24, 2014

I bought 1000 Twitter followers for $20 and it sucked

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 My name is Celeste and I bought 1000 Twitter followers for $20. It was an experiment – a kind of embarrassing, spur-of-the-moment and rather bad experiment - that ended up having way more ramifications than I expected.

It started pretty innocently.

At the time I had been reading a bunch of articles about how tacky it is to buy followers and I had heartily agreed with them.  But it was late at night, and I was curious. If so many people were doing this were they really getting something out of it? Does the Twitter experience change when you have just a little boost in your follower numbers? Or not? If so, how?

I Googled “buy Twitter followers” and found a place that guaranteed 1000 real followers for $20. One thousand followers didn’t seem like a big deal (I had over 4000 already at the time) and $20 was pretty affordable. Without thinking much more about it I clicked “buy.” It was kind of like Alice taking a bite of cake just because it said “eat me” on it. I just wondered what would happen.

Within three days I had not 1000, but more like 1300 or 1400 new followers. I browsed through them wondering what “real followers” meant in this world of Twitter deception and quickly determined that all of them were completely fake. Almost every “person” had an underscore at the beginning, end or on both sides of their handle. There was obviously someone who had the job of keeping these accounts active so that they wouldn’t be detected as fake but all the activity was random, mostly misspelled and sometimes just gibberish. Already I wished they’d all go away. Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn’t have to wait long.

At some point around the time I paid the $20, the company I bought the followers from encouraged me in an email to follow these dumb robots back. I didn’t do that because I don’t want my feed clogged by dumb robots. And so, after a few weeks, my real-fake-underscored followers started unfollowing me en masse, perhaps as punishment for not playing the game correctly. Sometimes it would be 20 at a time, sometimes 100 or more. Then things would stabilize for a few days or even a few weeks, then the unfollows would start again.

At first I didn’t care because I didn’t like these lame accounts anyway, but it soon became a little disheartening. I couldn’t tell if it was the fake people who were leaving me or the real ones. I knew it was probably the former but because it was impossible to tell, a glimmer of self-doubt started to form. Also, there was the psychological impact of seeing lower numbers all the time on my stats and never higher ones. I couldn’t tell if I had new followers unless I actually went and checked on my activity.

Even though I knew all this was an illusion of my own making, it was a bummer and I started to lose interest in Twitter. Instead of being a happy, fun, social place, Twitter was now the place where I got dissed constantly by illiterate automatons. I got grumpy and my posts became more needy. At one time I was on Twitter almost every day but suddenly I could go a week or two without checking it at all. All of a sudden Twitter was work and not play.

It’s now been about eight months since I flirted with the dark side and all but around 100 of my fake followers are gone. I’m happy to see these annoying things disappear from my life but their bad juju is still with me. Maybe I lost my edge alongside my dampening Twitter love or maybe it’s karma but fewer people interact with me nowadays without me interacting with them first.  I’m less likely to get on Twitter to chat so my interactions are at an all-time low. As for stats, I get more unfollows and less followers now (real ones that is) than I ever have.

So now I’m hoping that like a bad relationship or other poor life decision, my days of dark robots will eventually fall behind me and I’ll regain the chatty charm I think I used to have. Above all, social media should be fun and nothing about being fake or wasting $20 brings joy to my life.

Maybe coming clean will help. So there you go. I bought 1000 Twitter followers for $20 and it totally sucked.

UPDATE! About 36 hours after I posted this to Twitter the final 100 fake followers dropped me. I am free!

4 comments:

  1. Wow, who knew! I had no idea about any of this; buying followers, let alone that it can have all these destructive effects. Terrible!
    I am sorry to hear the spiral-downwards, Celeste, and hope you are able to turn it around some day!
    And no, I am sure juju or whatever has nothing to do with it, since I don't believe in that at all.;-)

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  2. Hi Celeste, thanks for your article. There are some service that are absolutely fake but I have used a service to get real and cheap twitter followers .please check this out http://twitterwind.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm reminded of the scene in "Breaking Bad" where "friends" start contributing to Walt's fund raising website - in reverse. And then stop. When the juju ends. In Pago Pago, American Samoa. Vlad

    ReplyDelete

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