I just love a good conspiracy theory. So here comes one you might want to investigate, exaggerate and circulate. However firstly I want to say that I have no proof, evidence or confirmation that Twitter is a front for the CIA, Homeland Security, Mossad or the FBI. I will say though that these agencies and many more like them in every country around the world must be licking their lips with delight at the ease at which 145 million people now voluntarily spill all the beans on themselves.

However, this has nothing to do with my own theory which is about the number of living, breathing, tweeting and texting Twitter users there really, in fact, are in this recently released number of 145,000,000 so-called Twitter users. My theory goes like this. As has been reported, Twitter only has a retention rate of 30% of new users after one month of registering. So let’s reduce this 145 million to a more likely 43.5 million active users.

Now let me factor in multiple accounts. This is almost impossible to quantify, but in recent days I have been followed by nearly 30 accounts with the same name except for an underscore and number at the end of the user name. It is also noticeable how many times I see the exact same ‘spam’ tweet from a number of accounts. In my case, new book reviews can often be seen word for word from as many as 50 accounts. Then there are users who have a second little account for when they want to tweet with a little secrecy. And lastly there are so called fake celebrity accounts that are simply used to attract followers, and are in fact dead accounts collecting user names to be followed by spammers. So I am going to reduce the active user number again by a modest 15% to account for these multiples. So now we are at 37 million.

Now let’s take spammers and bots. There is no way these can be included as active users as they are simply spewing out automated junk. I used Twit Cleaner to check on the number of spammers I am following and it found that 20% were as they say ‘Potentially Dodgy Behaviour’. So now my estimate of living, breathing, tweeting and texting Twitter users gets reduced to 29.5 million.

I’ll stop calculating here and settle on the now remaining 115.5 million so called active Twitter accounts being in fact dead or crap accounts.

Armed with this information, I thought I might try and clean out my inactive, dead and just gave up on Twitter accounts. Easy. No way!

In recent months Twitter has been shutting down service to apps that help you clean out your account. I know of six apps I used regularly that have been forced to remove these useful services by Twitter. Clearly, Twitter does not want its users to be able to unfollow these crap accounts. But why?

Well, doesn’t 145 million looks a lot better than 29.5 million to the investors behind Twitter?

I must say however, that I like Twitter and the concept of the social networking capabilities that it offers. But I don’t like to be taken for a fool either. So Twitter, clean up your act and stop building your service on a huge garbage dump of hidden falsehoods and let me decide who I want to follow or not.

Twitter’s Very Precious Garbage Dump
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16 thoughts on “Twitter’s Very Precious Garbage Dump

  • 13/09/2010 at 9:12 pm

    Hmmm, so I noticed, too.

  • 14/09/2010 at 10:18 am

    What really gets my dander up Derek are the number of businesses who claim that they want to 'follow' you – Real Estate, or if you are American, Realtors, spring to mind as just one example… :)

  • 14/09/2010 at 8:53 pm

    How is twitter shutting these services down?

  • 14/09/2010 at 9:09 pm

    Ah, that sucks (found BuzzOm's post about it). Ironic, really–I imagine what twitter is trying to do is limit the damage/scope a bot can do/have. And yet–bulk follow/unfollow systems are a part of the landscape, and driven by that landscape….


  • 26/05/2011 at 6:13 pm

    Everyone I follow is lovingly hand-picked and cherished. That said, I'm one of the guilty ones with two accounts. They have different purposes and very different followers/followed. And yes, Derek, only one of them is following you.

  • 28/05/2011 at 10:07 am

    The big Twitter problem is the number of 'dead' accounts that are clogging the system. I may look lucky with the number of followers I have, but how many are active? I would guess at less than 50%.

  • 28/05/2011 at 1:47 pm

    I've been "Spring Cleaning" the old fashioned way, if I see a tweet in my Timeline that is spam etc., I just go to their page check them out & "unfollow" if I don't like what I see. I also go back & check out some of the people I "followed back" in the beginning & have cleared out a lot of them as well….~Anne

  • 24/08/2011 at 11:09 pm

    Thanks for the blog post, is there any way I can receive an email sent to me every time you write a new article?

    • 24/08/2011 at 11:19 pm

      Sure Eliseo. Just click the mail+ icon in the top left corner of the blog page and you can subscribe to email updates. Thanks for asking!

  • 24/08/2011 at 11:47 pm

    So very not surprising. There is a TED video out about the selectivity of search engines as well, and how they conspire to give your most likely used web pages to you, not just a clean search of a topic. Big Brother is never very far away.

  • 25/08/2011 at 8:49 am

    Thanks for your comment Dean. Indeed search engines, and in particular Google, are becoming a little Big Brotherish. SEO has become a science of manipulating Google’s manipulation of search. It has nothing to do with relevance anymore. It is about guiding you to what THEY want you to find. Even when I do a simple search of my own name, I’m always annoyed at the erroneous results that appear. 1984 revisited, not far wrong.

  • 05/12/2011 at 2:43 pm

    I noticed this thing much more time, but what I do? : (

  • 08/02/2012 at 4:04 pm

    As of right now, we only have three USA GMs (myself included) and we’re all handling the entire production of the game on top of policing seventeen servers. Simply put, we don’t have enough manpower.


    • 14/02/2012 at 12:44 pm

      Even if you only play on one server, there are hundreds of other users online with you and your actions will have an effect on them. Every time someone buys gold from an illegal gold seller, it promotes further illegal activity. Gold farmers camping on spawns, spam bots cluttering up the chat, the further development of third party tools to aid those farmers’ efficiency/profitability, and even direct attacks made against the game and GamersFirst in an effort to find game-breaking exploits or means of committing credit fraud to further their actions.


  • 13/02/2012 at 11:22 am

    What’s up with the PVP Server event? An event is announced, costing money to participate. Me and my wife both participated. I don’t mind if we weren’t in the top 60% and just didn’t get anything. But as far as I know, no awards for that contest were ever given to anyone?


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