Saturday, February 14, 2009

Automatic Following Systems for Twitter: Death of Twittter

Post inspired by: http://tweetergetter.com/

I'm quite angry at Tweetergetter. Systems like the one
Tweetergetter uses are probably going to ruin Twitter. Here's why:

How would the Future look like?
Think for a second about the future of such systems.
Tweetergetter is actually quite a limited system, it only makes you follow a percentage of the people using Tweetergetter. Lets imagine the perfect auto follower system for Twitter. People would enroll in the system and hand their Username and Password over to it. The system would then make all of it's users follow all of it's users. This means that enrolling in the system would be the equal of everyone in the system following you and you following everyone in the system. This is the ultimate auto follower system for Twitter, lets call it the MagicSystem for now.

So what?
The chance that a system like the MagicSystem will gain the upper hand in the "market" is huge. Thousands of people will follow the
MagicSystem while being followed back by each and everyone using the system. Over time almost everyone using Twitter will use the MagicSystem due to the huge advantage you gain over other Twitter users. If someone decides not to use the MagicSystem he isn't going to survive among all the other giants, besides it would be just stupid to miss an opportunity to gain thousands of followers for free.

Whats going to Happen once all the people use the
MagicSystem?
Well there will be a perfect equilibrium between every Twitter user. Everyone will follow everyone else, no one will have less or more followers than any other person. No one will be special. This effectively ruins the entire point of the follower/following system twitter uses.

What is Twitter without a
follower/following system?
Nothing.

What's Twitter doing against this?
Nothing: http://twitter.com/terms
No mention of auto-follower systems or anything like them.
Really sorry, I was too rash. Didn't read This (Scroll down to: "What is follow spam?"
").
Even thought Twitter is doing something against Follower Spam I don't think they have any rules in place against auto follower systems like the MagicSystem.

What can we do?
Bring attention to this topic. Link to this article from anywhere you can. Let's hope Twitter will see the problem and do something against it. Please don't create the MagicSystem in search for power, I didn't.


Think I'm Correct/Wrong?
Comment and state your opinion.

Edits made in this Colour

24 comments:

Java Squirrel said...

Please Comment

@ryanstephens said...

I agree. Basically, my issue is that people without social capital now are going to obtain it through one of these ridiculous systems and then how are we supposed to know who the influencers are? Who the people are that are consistently providing valuable content? At this point, for the most part, we have a good idea.

Martin English said...

The number of followers someone has is irrelevant to influence.

It doesn't matter how many people follow you (using these auto follow systems). YOU decide who you want to follow back, based on whether you're interested in them and what they say.

The influencers I'm concerned about will be the people who influence ME. The influencers you're concerned about will be the people who influence YOU. Some will influence both of us. Scale this up and you get people like Scoble, (followed by almost everyone) and me (followed by very few), regardless of how hard I try

Trey said...

I agree too... okay, three... but if everyone follows everyone... or if I even follow more than 200 people... how in the world would I keep up with twitter? I can barely keep up now and I only follow like 70 people... in fact, I don't keep up... I have to unfollow people which is said... so yeah, that's my thought

@easel said...

I agree with Martin. If a bunch of people want to sign up for a ponzi scheme, twitter style, it's their prerogative. It doesn't prevent me from using the system how I choose to. For me, Twitter isn't a popularity contest, it's a tool to meet and communicate with interesting people.

Java Squirrel said...

@@easel
How are you going to find those interesting people? Probably you're going to find the more popular people first right? How are you going to differentiate between interesting and non-interesting people?

Thanks for Commenting =D

Anonymous said...

Great article... I personally, like twitter but I only like to follow a few [handfull] and don't really care to be followed by the whole world. BTW, I'm not a tweet-snob :P just a picky gal. Most are people I know who r around the world. I protect my tweets, so, I have no problem on that note. Hopefully, that doesn't change... :) If I don't know you or find u interesting I don't care to follow u... holly molly, that sounds snobby when I read it, but that's the truth.

Freda Booth said...

Good post. I've found that most people don't read what others are writing anyway. It's like they're saying," I don't care who you are or what you do, as long as you're looking at me and what I do." It's that way in all the social networking systems.

Java Squirrel said...

Thanks for the Comments!

@Freda Booth
Yes that's what's going to happen in large scale if these autofollower systems continue.

Greg Hemphill said...

I'd argue quality vs. quantity here... what's the point of having 50k people following you if only 50 or so are interested in what you have to say?

I can only see these tools being valuable to two kinds of people.
1. those who use Twiter as a mass marketing tool.
2. those who base their self esteem on their follower count.

In on the following side, it's a signal vs. noise thing.

If these things take off... you'll quickly be able to tell the accounts that use them and will likely not follow very many of them.

Uncle jeffrey said...

I like the auto follow. I've met a ton of people really fast.Everyone has value & after 36 hours I've got over 300 new people at my fingertips! I follow all who follow me until it proves a mistake. Kind of fun and I don't see who this hurts. It's like diving into tweet instead of wading in slowly.

Lori Carey said...

The people who are into this scheme are only playing for the numbers, and I'll to unfollowing people who repeatedly retweet the lnks because I know they are not using twitter to really connect.

I'm having much more fun growing organically (albeit slowly) by connecting with interesting people and having real conversations.

@careyphoto

blogging101 said...

I want twitter.com support to verify or comment at least/

no action talkin at allon this.??wth

On that though, i thought it's a fabulous idea granted the spam, effect' will kill twitter.

But you can always block and if your in the marketing industry "like i am" then you must stay 2 steps ahead.

the kids ahead 5. shame it was implemented the way it was.

it would appear on the surface no harm no fowl, "buyer beware you were all warned."

If don't like it block it 'and all using it.'

But there is room for everyone as long as knowone gets hurt.

but i gotta give it to the kid.

numero uno on the weeks greatest hit.

Im doin a future article so it's all good. "DM Me all the Info!!"

thx for putting all the work in on this topic.

Peace!
@max247

Java Squirrel said...

@Greg Hemphill

Yes maybe the people which follow you automatically are not of high interest but your follower count will still go up. If your follower count is high enough there is a higher chance of people taking you seriously and you meeting interesting people and people becoming interested in you.

@blogging101

You're quite hard to understand but I'll do my best =D

"I want twitter.com support to verify or comment at least/ "

Yes, I made a mistake in saying that they are doing nothing against this. Sorry. As far as I know they do not have any rules in place against auto follower systems but they are doing something against "Follower Spam".

"the kids ahead 5. shame it was implemented the way it was."

Am I the Kid? Don't know any other kids here...

"Im doin a future article so it's all good. "DM Me all the Info!!""

Which info?

@All

Thanks for all the Comments so far =D

Pete said...

I don't use it to be a power player. I actually use it to follow people of interest and to learn.
I am not attempting to play with the big boys, to gain business, or for any "power" or fame reasons but simply to communicate with people of interest.
I would hate auto following as there are many people that attempt to follow me that I have no interest in.

Don Draper said...

Any system where the cost is zero and the output is > zero will get gamed. Twitter's vulnerability to this sort of thing goes hand in hand with it's lack of a business model.

The sad thing is, as with the rest of social media, people look at things like popularity rather than actually basing their opinions on content. Why do you care if someone has 50K followers? How about following people that are saying useful things?

veryheaven said...

the leader has it all - it still remains the same - the information elite stays small and exclusive. think twice - your post may result into that more ppl are following you - wether it was intended or not. now ask yourself: are you ar power twitterer or a twitter with increasing power? check out
robert greene: www. powerseductionandwar.com

Laura said...

I'm still getting my head around Twitter, hopping onto the bandwagon BECAUSE it's a popular social tool. Now that I'm up to ~150 followers/following, I can't keep up with everyone. People who have super high volume can't by the very nature of social behavior be enjoying QUALITY time with people. Impossible. So it stops being a social connection tool and starts being as anonymous as the very internet itself.

So what's the diff if some Magic Thingy comes along and automatically hooks everyone up? Isn't that what a whole lot of users are out to do anyway? Give it time.

Oh, and pardon me for saying, but there are some people who have large followings, who I respected and followed, and they're just posting Tweets via feeds. I won't name names, but can't I just go to a giant news stand and browse the topics I want myself?

There's a lot of tweet, tweet, tweet = blah, blah, blah

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to read this,I didn't consider any of the concerns in this posts for me it was out of curiousity to see if it really works,and I can't say I have noticed much change in my numbers.I enjoy twitter and its a good way of meeting interesting people.I really don't mind the numbers as long as I don't have to follow them all.

Anonymous said...

Twitter seems to be a prefect example of micro-blogging gone real bad.

Why do people think that followers actually give a damn and read all the crap that they post. There is absolutely no sense of community, and no reason to spend any time there.

Java Squirrel said...

"Why do people think that followers actually give a damn and read all the crap that they post."

Because they do. In a previous post I calculated that every 8th follower of me visits my website. I also get constant replies to my posts asking me questions. It is true though that a lot of the people on Twitter really don't care about others.

JOSEPH GELB said...

In the long run followers have little to do with how well twitter can be leveraged for conversions. You do not need followers to break the top tweet meme stories daily. And most traffic comes via 3rd party so people can promote till the cows come home with no followers and get just as much traffic as ashton kutcher minus like 3 percent of his millions

Salazar said...

@ryanstephens How are you supposed to know? Well, by checking their twitter stream and seeing if they are providing consistent value.

Same thing for who does not provide consistent value. And you unfollow them.

This article also says you couldn't survive without the magicsystem. that is utter BS, pardon my french. You don't survive on twitter because of the number of followers you have. And there will always be huge numbers of people not using the system, because they wish to (reasonably) discriminate. Seeing survival and success in terms of huge numbers of indifferent uninteractive followers is hardly objective.

Bottom line, there is room for all kinds of approaches to twitter, and lobbying twitter to restrict the free expression of people's desires, by enforcing a one size fits all type of use, seems to me to be a bad desire, because it doe s not tend to fulfill the desires of others, while not caring about that and just enjoying twitter in our own terms (using or not using automated following systems) is totally compatible with the desires of everyone.

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