I love Twitter, and have been a user since 2009. However, one facet of Twitter has become an extreme annoyance for me – automatically created user accounts, or bots. They are created by a software program and user accounts can be created by the thousands. They serve no useful purpose other than to spread spam, or in the last couple of years, to be sold as fake followers.
It only takes a quick scan of the followers of any popular celebrity Twitter account to see that a huge proportion of followers are fake. In the case of Lady Gaga, it has been estimated that 71% of her followers are fake.
What does this say about the credibility of Twitter, whose rules and best practices are so difficult for new users to comprehend? It says that although Twitter limit what new users can do, such as enforcing their infamous 2,000 follow limit, Twitter is shit scared to kill off fake accounts, as its estimated user base would plummet. It is telling that while Twitter’s user base numbers increase at a rapid rate, its total audience is diminishing, as is its user activity.
In December 2013, this report concluded that on average, each Twitter user has only one follower.
The median Twitter account has only one follower.
That’s what Jon Bruner, a data journalist at O’Reilly Radar, found when he algorithmically queried the service about its users at random this fall.
Added to this practice of allowing millions of fake accounts, Twitter has yet to decide what kind of platform it really is. As each year goes by, Twitter is becoming less and less uncensored micro-blogging, and trying more and more to become family friendly Facebook II. But who wants another Facebook?
I want my 2009 version of Twitter back. Ok, the fail whale was a bit of a pain, but at least that was just a technical growing pain thing. Having eggs splashed all over Twitter’s face is not. It is very, very intentional, as without eggs, Twitter, as well as Lady Gaga, would have a user base loss of probably 71%.