Are Twitter Numbers Really All That Accurate?

Twitter Follow MeI admitted a long time ago that I’m a Twitter addict. I love it. It’s where I get my news primarily and how I meet up with friends for coffee. And I really do look at my Twitter followers carefully and see who they are, what they tweet about and if they tweet often. I don’t typically follow eggs back unless they really have something valuable to offer. I don’t follow back people that have never tweeted or have few tweets.

So the other day I was going through my email and found a bunch of new followers. Yay! I always look at the profile photo. I’m the type who won’t remember your name, but I’ll remember your face after we’ve met.  I have to admit, the little thumbnail is hard to see, but sometimes I swear that people look alike.

Recently, I saw one and I could have sworn I saw her before. So I did a little search on Twitter. And low and behold, I did see her before. In fact, tell me if you’ve seen her before:

Duplicate Twitter Accounts

Well, maybe if you haven’t seen her before, you’ve seen her friends:

As you can see, all of these accounts seem to belong to the same person, but with different profiles, and in some cases – same avatar. They have a couple of thousand of followers each and they tweet often. My follower @Rosbergedc (first photo), has a Klout score of 25 and one of her five alter egos @fonnesbeck1930 has a Klout score of 22. (Little does she know if she retweeted her alter ego she could increase her klout – lol).

So then I did a little investigation into their Twitter handles and here’s what I found:

All of them include these four (4) websites which are all owned by the same person and have multiple fake Twitter accounts. (162 between the four of them). They tweet about debt consolidation, learning Mandarin, child custody, injury lawyers, car insurance, etc. You name it – they pretty much cover it.

  • – There are 25 Twitter profiles that have this website in their profile.
  • – There are 40 Twitter profiles that have this website in their profile.
  • – There are 58 Twitter profiles that have this website in their profile.
  • – There are 39 Twitter profiles that have this website in their profile.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with good ol’ fashion marketing. But it seems that if Twitter allows stuff like this to happen, then it raises some serious concerns and validates others,  such as:

  1. How valid are Twitter’s 200M users?
  2. If a person has 10,000 followers, how meaningful is that number if half that list is consumed of fake accounts like these?
  3. When they (Twitter) say that 460,000 new accounts are created each day – how valuable is that number really?
  4. If less than 10% of the Twitter population generates 90% of the Tweets (140M per day), and these fake accounts are part of that number, what is Twitter going to do cut down on this noise?
The interesting thing is that these tweets seem to be either manually generated or generated by a program that doesn’t leave a footprint (meaning, some sort of code on some guy’s hard drive.)
So what do you think? Are Twitter’s numbers valuable? Do you think Twitter should do something about prohibiting these types of accounts? Leave a comment below.
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


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