“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain
Recently, Karl Taro Greenfeld, a journalist and author, published an op-ed in the New York Times on faking cultural literacy.
“It’s never been so easy,” he wrote, “to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them.”
We wrote about the sketchy world of fake Facebook fans back in May, but the phenomenon is apparently just as rampant and shady on Twitter. To shed some light on the truth about fake Twitter followers, social media management startup Status People developed a tool that studies a sample set of 500 followers to determine what percentage of them are fake, inactive and good.
Fake followers are suspected spam bots; inactive are followers that haven’t tweeted in a while; and good are followers that are actively engaged.
Naturally, our first inclination was to plug in the cofounders of Twitter to see what their percentages looked like. Turns out they have some pretty inflated follower numbers.