It’s taken me a while of struggling with the social network to understand this but I think Twitter (possibly this is limited to South Africa) should really be called “Shitter”. The service itself is great, revolutionary even, but the biggest problem with Twitter and less serious social networks are invariably the people the exist on them.

The latest Twitter “controversy” is that Kirsty Bisset, her Boyfriend Barry Tuck and his company GorillaCM have been inflating their follower numbers by buying followers. Read the expose here.

Firstly, it’s pretty easy to buy followers. I’ve done it before for a mere $5 and it works like the bomb.

Secondly, who gives a shit.

Social media is actually a load of crap, it’s got nothing to do with real life and actually offers nothing useful. I have this niggle at the back of my head that one needs to be online from an image perspective and to gain clients but again this is junk. The most successful people I know in the digital industry are hardly on Twitter. When they tweet, it’s a useful link or some sort of interesting snippet they may have enjoyed. Do you see Pete Case tweeting? Nikki Cockcroft? Rob Stokes? Jarred Cinman? Adrian Hewlett? Nope, they’re all doing some real work.

The problem ultimately is that the early adopters with many followers were traditionally your real life geeks and nerds, the type with low self esteem issues and what feels like the need to impress and one-up their fellow tweeters. It’s a shame how a social network can bring out the worst in people.

I don’t know Barry or Kirsty, I’ve seen them occasionally on Twitter but it seems a lot like people discuss their drinking exploits. What’s interesting is that they felt the need to buy followers. This isn’t directly sad for the two but sad how PR agencies and clients feel the need to quantify by the amount of followers or hits one might have. Yes you need a metric but surely quality is more important than quantity?

The truth is that we’ve created a monster by giving people with followers authority and we’ve trained clients to think its okay to quantify people through followers.

Should we be up in arms about buying followers? No, we should be up in arms that people need to buy popularity in order to achieve any useful outcomes through a social network.

Shame on you marketers, shame on you

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