Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Is anybody on Twitter real...

Following on from the virus last week, it's now hit my other half pretty hard, plus my son seems to be coming down with it this morning as well which is worrying. It also seems to have given my system a kicking in general so I'm waiting for advice from my consultant and being very careful what I eat (translation - not much) so altogether I'll be happy when we're all better.  On the plus side losing a pound or two wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

I keep getting followers on Twitter, which is really cool.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a "microblogging service" - basically you can write tweets, which must be a maximum of 140 characters, which then everyone who is following you can see.  You can follow people yourself, to see what they are tweeting.  Popular celebrity twitterers (twitterati?) include Stephen Fry and Lady Gaga - the latter has almost 30 million people following her, which is just insane if you think about it (or not for the matter).  Personally I recommend The Guild, Geek & Sundry, Felicia Day, and Wil Wheaton.

My twitter account is at RavenswingThog if you want to follow me.

But how many (I presume) fake Twitter accounts are there?  I have, at the moment in time, a huge 68 followers.

Of the 68, about 44 are work related in some manner.  A few more are friends, but there's a few which are clearly fake accounts.  When I say fake accounts (lets call em zombies), its usually a female with a random name that includes "xxx" in it and all their tweets are random garbage like "once I went outside but it rained".  Quickly scrolling through I can see at least nine zombie followers.

It just seems odd to me to have zombies trailling after me, listening to my tweets. I guess the reason why is that they follow real people in the hope that they follow them back, they then have a long list of followers and sell tweets to businesses (for $100 we could tweet to all of our followers about your urinal cake business!)

More worrying, I did a quick search on the net for "fake twitter followers", which led me quickly to a website that would check how many of these you had following you.  But to do this, the website would have permission to post tweets on my behalf.  I wonder how many people sign up to something like this, and then the app happily goes along tweeting about whatever it wants on their account.

Facebook apps do the same.  If you're not careful all types of Facebook games and the like take the ability to post on your timeline about themselves.  Generally I try to be fairly careful and reject those apps that want too much access, or if there's an option of "who sees the posts from this app" I set it so that only I can see the posts, and it doesn't bother my friends.  After all, I generate enough noise without apps helping!

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