Friday, May 8, 2015

Rise up, my Twitter followers

I’ve always found the notion of Twitter followers to be a little odd.
I can understand why celebrities, politicians and other public figures would have followers on Twitter. People want to hear what they have to say: their opinions, witticisms and asides.
But not little old me.
Sure, I’m a technology business journalist at a national newspaper, but I have a separate Twitter account for work (See @IBD_PSeitz).
My personal Twitter account (@PatrickSeitz) is basically me just retweeting tech and pop culture articles that I find interesting. I’ll occasionally make a comment about something in the news or about a TV show I like. But that’s about it.
The other day I passed 800 followers on Twitter. Some cult leaders don’t have that many followers.
I’ve got a few ideas about who a lot of my followers are.

1. Spammers and scammers

A lot of shady businesses lurk around Twitter trying to entice users to click on their weblinks. Sometimes they’ll mention your Twitter name in a tweet that shows up in your Notifications. Other times they’ll follow you, hoping you’ll check out their profile to learn more about them.
A review of my Twitter Faker Score on Status People shows that 52% of my followers are “good” active users. But 9% of my followers are “fake” and 39% are “inactive.”
In January 2014, Status People reported that 76% of my followers were “good,” 8% fakers and 16% inactive. A big chunk of my followers went inactive on Twitter in a little over a year.
Meanwhile, Twitter Audit says 86% of my followers are “real.”
I would tend to believe Status People in this regard.

2. People hoping for a reciprocal follow

I have colleagues with many more Twitter followers than me, but they also follow hundreds of Twitter accounts.
There seems to be an unspoken etiquette on Twitter that if someone follows you, you should follow them back. That’s fine for casual Twitter users, but not for people like me who actively use Twitter as a news feed.
This behavior likely started with Facebook where people try to accumulate as many Facebook friends as possible to boost their image.

3. People mistaking me for anime voice actor Patrick Seitz

If you do a Google search for Patrick Seitz, the top results are for voice actor Patrick Seitz of Los Angeles.
He has many fans who occasionally mistake my Twitter account for his. For the record, his Twitter handle is @Seitz_Unseen.
What’s worse is that he isn’t even a true Googleganger. His full name is David Patrick Seitz, according to his Wikipedia page.
There can be only one!

Photos: Twitter headquarters in San Francisco at night; voice-over artist Patrick Seitz.

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