I finally get it. As per the new goal I set for myself in my post from a few days ago, I began to do a little research on how Twitter works these days, and how it has changed since the last time I was optimistic enough to think I cared. What I found was eye opening, although not very surprising.
I used to look at the occasional Twitter profile, happen to notice the enormous number of followers the person had, and would immediately become overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy; This dude, this random new collegegrad like me who seems to have nothing going for him other than cheap sunglasses and an acoustic guitar, has how many followers? Twenty-six thousand!? How is that even possible? Why do people care what this bro-douche has to say? I’ve never felt like I had any shortage of friends in life, but browsing Twitter made me feel like the dudes from Weird Science. The ones that had to program a girlfriend. (Side note: I’m still unclear on how that montage resulted in an animate creature walking out of their closet.) Fortunately for me, though, my days of feeling like the Twitter loner has come to an end, because I’ve been enlightened. Here’s how it really works.
Turns out my my question “Why do people care?” was far more poignant than I ever expected. I guess one day someone realized that having a huge Twitter following made you worth more as an individual, and so he friended every person he could find on the site. I personally never would have gone this route because everyone knows that if you follow more people than people that follow you, you’re automatically a loser. But this guy didn’t care. He followed everyone, and then made two important discoveries.
1. When you follow someone on Twitter, they receive an email letting them know that someone followed them. In most cases, this does nothing, but occasionally, that email is enough to make them want to follow you back.
2. After that email has been sent, there’s nothing to stop you from unfollowing the fool.
True, they could check their list of followers to make sure that you’re still on it, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people have no clue that this is going on, and so they’d never think twice about it. And thus, the “Massive Twitter Follower Algorithm” was born. Systematically follow a shit ton of people every day for about 20 minutes, just long enough for an email to be sent, and then unfollow them. 5% of them will follow you in turn, and you don’t look like an idiot for following thousands of people yourself.
The beauty of this algorithm is that it’s not just a theory; It works, and it works damn well. So well in fact that people have written software you can use to completely automate the process for you. It’ll follow thousands of people each day for you, and you don’t even have to remember who to unfollow; it keeps track of it for you, and does it automatically. It even comes with a guide on how to use it with advice like, “Find someone with a big following of users who are similar to the users you want following you, and set their friends list as your target.” It’s genius, it’s effective, and it’s totally sad, because I’m beginning to realize now just how pointless Twitter is. It’s nothing more than a bunch of fools promoting their goods and services to a bunch of other people who don’t care, because they’re too busy promoting their own jazz.
I’ll admit that viewpoint is a bit harsh, but sheesh! If you’re not Ashton Kutcher getting paid all kinds of cash for a 140 character string, is it even worth sorting through all the riffraff?
I’m still setting my goals high. But I’m gonna do it the old fashioned way.