Can you find Twitter Love using social tools like Twiends? Sure. Just like you can find love with a foreign hooker. She’s there, she wants you, you put some money and effort into her, and then she’s gone. In between, you couldn’t understand a word she said and now you feel like you need a shower. But it was just so temptingly easy…
It’s official: I’ve become the people I once mocked. I wouldn’t even join a sorority in college because I thought it was just Rent-a-Friend. At the time, I actually had some shirts made for myself and some like-minded girls in my dorm, by the same company who made the REAL Greek letter pride tees. Sigma-Lambda-Upsilon-Tao. SLUT. We wore them to mock the girls going through rush, who, it turns out, can give a dirty look like nobody’s business. Rush apparently makes you pretty cranky.
Flash forward an uncomfortably large number of years later, and I find myself staring at the number next to Followers on my Twitter account with the same crazed eyes I once witnessed on future Tri-Delts. My cheek twitches.
I’ll admit it: I was behind the curve when it came to Twitter. I’d been enjoying my life on Facebook (late to the party there, as well), where if I wanted to use more than 140 characters to express a thought, I have the nerd-given right to do so. Then I started Kid-Free Living, and thought be I should have a Twitter account just in case. I signed-up, but other than posting links to my articles, didn’t pay any attention to it for several months.
Then one day, a strange little worry-squirrel starting gnawing at my nutty-flavored soul. Could NOT being an active member of the Twitterverse be a sign of aging? Was I out of touch? Getting old?
I checked my account and was surprised to find 60 something followers. Not bad, I thought. Until I started looking at other people’s accounts. People who literally posted What up ya’ll? fifty times a day had 200, 4000, 10000 followers. What the…? Could it be that easy to get 1000+ followers?
For a week and a half I put EFFORT into it. I tweeted. I followed people I found amusing. I researched. I started to really enjoy it. That’s where they got me. When I saw Twitter’s value, I wanted to be better at it. At the end of that week I had 77 followers. Actually, every night I had 79 followers, every morning I woke up to 77. At that rate I would have 1000 followers somewhere around… never.
On Facebook, I could run an ad. People with interests that matched mine would see the ad, and like Kid-Free Living’s Facebook page. Some would leave, most would stay; it was all very logical. People have to know you exist, after all. I was just alerting them to my presence, here and there, without spending too much money on it. But there didn’t seem any way to do that on Twitter. Clearly, I was missing something.
More research led me to Twiends.com, which seemed like the Facebook advertising missing from Twitter. The concept was simple – you sign up, choose your interests, and are then presented with a list of people desperately looking to find followers as well. Each is offering X amount of beans for following them. When you follow them YOU get the beans, and then you have beans to offer other people to following you.
When you join Twiends, you get a little starter patch of beans. I didn’t realize that, and didn’t notice them, until I saw that I had just received five new followers in about 2 seconds.
I get it, they are MAGIC beans! But now I was out of them.
Want. More. Beans.
There are two ways to get beans. Follow other people (thus taking their beans) or buy beans. Everything out there says DON’T BUY BEANS. Why would you? All you have to do is follow people, take their beans, and then unfollow them at your leisure.
So enraptured with my sudden increase of fans was I, that I missed the obvious flaw in Twiends logic. Everyone is just using everyone else. Follow, take beans, get followed, unfollow. Over and over and over again.
I knew I didn’t want to follow people just for their beans. It seemed morally wrong to follow a lawn care service in Chicago just to get 6 beans. I had no interest in them. So I bought 1250 beans for $30 and let loose the bean dogs.
I jumped from 77 fans to nearly 300 in just a couple of hours. As the email notifications for new users started to roll in, the awful truth FINALLY hit me.
Half of my new followers didn’t even speak (or more importantly, read) my language. And by that I don’t necessarily mean they were foreign. Others had WILDLY different interests. Just a few examples:
- 57 people whose only bio note was I’ll follow you back! (Why? You don’t even know me! Whore!)
- A lot of people noting that they are A kind loving friend. (I want readers, and people I want to follow with similar interests – I already havea dog.)
- Braggers: I’m a pro and you are looking like the prototype! or I am a very cool person! (Um, ok. Sure.)
- Bieber fans.
- A self-confessed 6 year old.
- Bios made entirely of random characters (how do they do that? ? ) and hashtag words.
- Other fan pages: I love Chris Brown & his MUSIC! Respect me, I respect you (Right, when I think Chris Brown, my first thought is the really respectful way he beat the crap out of Rihanna.)
- Uncomfortably inspirational bios that find unique ways to use the word loving 65 times.
- Some people who are either really angry, or think anger will be perceived as cool – Don’t like me? .. then f*ck you! Like my tweets? RT them.. Hate em? I wish I can give a f*ck. And my favorite: F*ck a bio, and the mothafuckas reading this shit! Keep in mind all these people were using a service to try and get more followers.
- The sweetest bitch I’ll ever know.
- What appears to be a 35 year old man who only wants Miley Cyrus lovers to follow him. (Anyone know where I can report him? )
- People very easily amused: Your readin My Bio, Who Does That ? Obviously You …. Lmfao ! (You misspelled Your! Lmfao!)
How could I have been so stupid? This was no way to find people who would enjoy my writing. No way to find people whom I would find interesting.
Hell, the sororities at least had themes – the pretty girls, the southern girls, the party girls, the girls that couldn’t get into any of the other sororities (often also known as the smart girls).
I returned to Twiend and found some additional controls that would spend the remainder of my beans by having my ad only shown to people who had high retention rates and had been using Twiend for more than a few hours. That definitely throttled the outpouring of followers, but didn’t do much for improving relevance.
I did end up following back about five people and we five seem to be mutual admirers. My 300 followers dwindled back down to 197 after a few days. I’m sure most of the others will be gone by the time I post this. I can’t consider it a victory that I have a few extra fans, because I know most of them just haven’t thought to drop me yet, or are quite possibly mindless bots, pedophiles or worse… Bieber Fans.
The only bonus? I love saying Twiends. It’s a great way to practice your Elmer Fudd impersonation.