The Death of Twitter

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: Observations, Social Media, twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

People Pyramid

The death of Twitter is a much discussed topic. The April Fool’s posts this year about Google buying Twitter and then some of that being revealed as real potential brought it to the surface again. Originally it was felt by some that Twitter would cease to be an effective communication tool as soon as big brands started using it. That hasn’t happened, brands are using Twitter and for the most part it has had little or no impact on Twitter users in general, at least in a negative way.

What Will Kill Twitter?

So if the arrival of brands didn’t kill Twitter what is the next big threat. Unfortunately that threat has already arrived and woven itself into the very fabric of Twitter, no not the spam-bots, but the MLM’ers. Those people who have got the lastest and greatest get rich quick scheme, all of which is vaporware. They sell courses on how to sell courses, they write e-books on how to write e-books, they sell you a plan that you only have to sell to 10 other people before you will see money just roll in.

Now they have turned their attention to Twitter. There are already people selling Twitter user courses, which in of itself, while a bit of a head-scratcher, is not too awful, but now there are those who are selling Twitter based get rich quick schemes. They vary from schemes that guarantee you 7000 followers in 24 hours to tools that will get you 20,000 followers in a month.

What’s The Harm?

I am all about the freedom to use Social Media in the way that best suits your business model or in fact your personal goals, there have been way too many people who have tried to write the “Social Media Rulebook”. So why are MLM or Internet Marketers as they now prefer to be called (no offense to real Internet Marketers) a bad thing for Twitter and Social Media in general? The main reason is that they are experts at “gaming” the system, they will use every shortcut they can to provide an image of knowledge or influence. That is how their business model works. This past week I have been followed by at least half a dozen Twitter users who have less than 500 updates (which gives you a sense of how long they have been active on Twitter) but have 20k followers and are following a similar number. How can you possibly grow an organic following of over 20k followers in a month? You use tools like Tweetgetter or other services that charge up to $10 a month to provide you with 1000’s of followers.

Where this has an impact is that it skews the ability of both new users of these tools and brands to be able to recognize those with influence and those with just numbers. Unfortunately at this point a lot of people are still associating the two. Tools like Twitter Grader and Twinfluence used to be both fun and provide some indication of at least how popular a user was, now they have, in my opinion, become redundant. A recent look at Twinfluence showed the top users are no longer Barack Obama, Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble or any of the other usual suspects, the users in the top ranked places are people who have made major gains in their follower numbers. Now I am not claiming that they have used any of these tools, maybe they are just Twitter addicts who spend hours searching out great Twitter users to follow and following them – but if you think that it probably takes about 1 minute to perform a search by topic, then another minute at least to identify a Twitter user from the list returned by Twitter Search then clicking follow that would be 40,000 minutes – or nearly 28 days of non-stop Twitter activity, no food, sleep or bathroom breaks!

Image by Dan of Future’s Past via Flickr
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5 Responses to “The Death of Twitter”

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I’ll respectively throw in my opposing point of view. Did spammers kill e-mail? Ebay? Etc?

It certainly makes Twitter more annoying as these bottom feeders roll in, but much like we did for other mediums, we’ll devise strategies for how to block them out of our live.

Great Post though as usual.


I think you are right…and wrong.

Regardless of the technology or tools, the spammers & “marketers” will find a way to exploit the – I’ll call them ‘naive’. I’m sure the people that follow these new twitter accounts are the same people that believed the random IMs they used to get telling them how to make $10,000 a month, or wondered if a African millionaire might actually share money with them if they help them escape from some bad place or another. Unfortunately, there will always be people like this.

As with other technologies, as the popularity of Twitter continues to grow and become more mainstream I think the more informed among us will realize what these ‘people’ are doing and avoid, or report them.

My hope for these mass follower spammer accounts – as they start following the more and more accounts, they will also follow other spammers and thanks to “auto-follow” they will unknowingly follow them back and they will all end up in one big useless group of spammers.

I think Twitter will survive this threat. I am more concerned about the continued lack of a real business model and how whatever they eventually do to try and make money will effect those of use that have been using it for a while now.

Len, thank you for the comment. I guess where I see the difference between the MLM crowd and the spammers is that the spammers don’t yet seem to be “gaming” the system in the same way, and they are easier to spot. A Twitter account with the name joe_bloggs_1234 is a bit of a giveaway, but the MLM accounts are run by real people. That is what is impacting the influence tools and by default what will have a negative impact on Twitter & other Social Media platforms. FB overcomes this by putting a 5k limit on “friends” perhaps Twitter will implement such limits?

Why on earth would anyone use a service to “get” followers…never mind pay them? I find that just beyond my comprehension. I don’t want to wake up and find 15,000 new followers I didn’t even have the chance to check out…even a quick check of their bio. I’d assume that most of the followers you get from a source like that would be spammers. No thanks! I’ll do my own cultivating, thankyouverymuch.

now in my rss reader)))
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