Do People Take Facebook and Twitter “Friends” and “Followers” Seriously?


If so: why? Unless everyone’s been born yesterday, they ought to realize that – now that those are marketing channels – there are marketing sleaze coming along to “astroturf” people’s follower lists and “maximize” their “potential” base.

I got this Email a few minutes ago:

Hi there,
 
I really like your Instagram profile! I’m personally reaching out to invite you to Audiency. Our goal is simple: we are the first Instagram management agency dedicated to getting you more relevant followers and fans. Our agency manages Instagram accounts for over 3,000 small businesses, models, athletes, actors, entertainers and many others.
 
Each month I hand-pick a few Instagram profiles with amazing potential for an exclusive 3 day free trial to try us out and give genuine feedback – no credit card needed.
 
Our platform generates over 130,000 legitimate, high-quality fans per day. If you would like to be a part of our platform please check out our website at https://theaudiency.com/?9.
 
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, I’m happy to help. Looking forward to chatting soon :)
 
Warm regards,
 Janice Ybarra
 Talent Social Manager
 theaudiency.com

I wonder how much it costs to buy 130,000 legitimate high-quality fans.

You know what? I’d rather have one actual reader who argues with me, who puts some thought into what they say – as I have put thought and effort into what I write – and who dislikes my ideas. One actual reader who tells me I’m wrong is worth 130,000 robots that post “This is a deeply thoughtful blog posting. Do you usually use stderr instead of stdout? I have also been studying ${programming language}”

This is more of the war on authenticity, as far as I am concerned. Otherwise the internet becomes nothing but chatbots commenting on AI generated content. In other words, it’s 99.999999% spam and the algorithm switches from “spam blocking” to “content finding.”

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In other words: We are making sure that everyone learns to ignore who follows whom, and who “likes” what or comments on whatever. In order to make a few bucks, we are going to suck all of the credibility from “social” media – we’re that anti-social, we’ll do anything to monetize you. And we know you’re that anti-social yourself, so you might hire us to do it.

“Industry Players will recognize the value your fanbase brings to projects.”  Are you kidding me? Industry players have already figured out that every “fanbase” is a botnet if it’s more than a fairly small number. Because they’ve also gotten approached by spammers like Audiency, too. Way to assume your customers are stupid – and tell them that’s your assumption. “Hi, we think you’re inauthentic and would appreciate a bit of virtual quantity over quality. We take credit cards!

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Oh, and I hardly need mention, but: My instagram profile has 2 pictures on it, which are just crap I snapped for the sake of farting around. It’s not like I am being serious about instagram – not by a long shot. But since I got one, I assume that pretty much everyone who posts on instagram is getting this offer from Audiency. Which means that there are probably 5 actual humans who use instagram and the rest are all chatbots robo-buttsniffing to drive up eachother’s “like” scores.

Comments

  1. kestrel says

    Do I take it seriously? NO. In fact, I sincerely loathe Facebook but I do have a page there for my business.

    And it’s amazing to me just how incredibly wrong FB can be. It’s enough to make you think they are just lying to you to get money, she said, sarcastically. There is a message on my page that says the “number of people you could reach within 40 miles of your business: 69,000”. HAHAHAHAHA! I live in a county that is roughly 200 square miles. There are less than 5,000 people in the entire county. I could pick any direction from my “business” (which is my house) and drive 40 miles and there would not be any people. At all. (OK, technically, I can’t pick ANY direction because it’s not just people we are short on around here, there are not many roads, either.) So unless Facebook is planning on signing up all the elk and deer in the county, or they actually mean prairie dogs and not people, they are full of it.

    I don’t have an Instagram account but I’m afraid I quite cynically would expect them to lie to me, too.

  2. Vivec says

    I mean, I guess it depends on why you’re on said social media? I like having friends/followers because they tend to retweet/share/reblog my art, and it’s nice having your work seen by more people.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    we are going to suck all of the credibility from “social” media

    Presupposes it had credibility at some point in the past. When was this golden age? ‘Cos I don’t remember it.

  4. Dunc says

    I take my FB “friends” seriously, because they’re my actual friends. I also “like” a number of businesses that I actually like and want to keep in touch with.

  5. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake:

    we are going to suck all of the credibility from “social” media

    Presupposes it had credibility at some point in the past. When was this golden age? ‘Cos I don’t remember it.

    Depending on your definition of ‘social media’*, BBS days**. Arguably, even today.

    (When you actually know the real person with whom you interact on a social medium, in what way is that interaction not credible? cf. Dunc @5)

    Basically, one should discriminate.

    And also, not get confused by terminology; that those whom you allow into your feed are termed ‘friends’ does not entail that they are actually friends (though they can be), only that they are not blacklisted (at worst) or that they are whitelisted.

    And that discrimination is pretty easy, in general.

    (I note that this very site is a social medium)

    * Mediated peer-to-peer and many-to-many.

    ** I actually remember the genesis of internet trolling; I was actually a participant in alt.tasteless.

  6. John Morales says

    In passing, FB advertising is just line noise to me. And I think that anyone who ever clicks on an (unsolicited) advertisement on that platform deserves everything they get.

  7. John Morales says

    re OP:

    I wonder how much it costs to buy 130,000 legitimate high-quality fans.

    The snark is due, but obviously the quotation “Our platform generates over 130,000 legitimate, high-quality fans per day.” refers to the total “fans” added to the entirety of their subscribers, not to any given subscriber.

    (That is of course orthogonal to the truthfulness of the claim)

  8. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I’d love to give a thoughtful reply but you have under 20k followers, what would the cool kids think of me if I spend time typing instead of meming?

    I don’t expect you to get it, it’s a 20k+ club thing.

  9. says

    Chancellor of the Exchequer@#9:
    I don’t expect you to get it, it’s a 20k+ club thing.

    Am I gonna have to whip out my credit card and join the 180k+ club or what?!

  10. says

    kestrel@#1:
    unless Facebook is planning on signing up all the elk and deer in the county, or they actually mean prairie dogs and not people, they are full of it.

    See, you just identified 3 candidate customer groups to focus your business on! Our experts will help you place deer and woodchuck friendly banner ads as well as recommend search-friendly website optimizations targetting the woodchuck community. Oh, did I say “targeting”? I meant “upleverage.”

  11. says

    Vivec@#3:
    I like having friends/followers because they tend to retweet/share/reblog my art, and it’s nice having your work seen by more people

    I agree with that, but with all the bots it’s hard to tell if you’re being seen by more people or whether you’re just appealing to bots.

  12. says

    John Morales@#6:
    And also, not get confused by terminology; that those whom you allow into your feed are termed ‘friends’ does not entail that they are actually friends (though they can be), only that they are not blacklisted (at worst) or that they are whitelisted.

    Sites that use the “friend” terminology are doing it in order to encourage exactly that kind of confusion. Which immediately makes them suspect, to me.

    (I note that this very site is a social medium)

    It is, but it’s curated content. Which is where I think the future is going to be. The “allow everyone to post anything” model only works for bots, and the end-game should be obvious. I suspect that we’re going to eventually reinvent “real media” in which there are commentators that curate discussions on focused topics. This very site is an example of that, as well. Sites like John Scalzi’s and Charles Stross’ show that you can scale a community of interest to be fairly large without undue administrative burden.

    the quotation “Our platform generates over 130,000 legitimate, high-quality fans per day.” refers to the total “fans” added to the entirety of their subscribers, not to any given subscriber.

    I may have mis-parsed, but I interpret that as meaning that they add the same fans to all their user-base. Why wouldn’t they? 130,000 per day, too. They’re not doing that manually, which means they’re automated, which means they’re basically a botnet.

  13. says

    John Morales@#7:
    In passing, FB advertising is just line noise to me. And I think that anyone who ever clicks on an (unsolicited) advertisement on that platform deserves everything they get.

    I don’t even see it, even the stuff that leaks around ad blockers. I agree with you: why anyone imagines those ads are anything but pointless spew is beyond me. I wonder if the current generation is learning subconscious ad-ignoring behaviors. I knew a person who grew up with a TV constantly on in the house: they don’t even notice a certain amount of background television. Growing up without it, my attention is easy to hook and keep.

  14. John Morales says

    I may have mis-parsed, but I interpret that as meaning that they add the same fans to all their user-base. Why wouldn’t they? 130,000 per day, too. They’re not doing that manually, which means they’re automated, which means they’re basically a botnet.

    Maybe.

    And for fun with figures… 365 days in a year → 47,450,000 fans per annum.

  15. sonofrojblake says

    why anyone imagines those ads are anything but pointless spew is beyond me

    A lot of people have to imagine that, because their entire industry and all their careers are based on it. If someone actually pointed out, with figures and graphs and so on, just how useless those ads are, customers (i.e. advertisers) might stop buying… and then where would we be? I mean, picture a world without (whisper it) advertising agency executives… how would we cope?

    (British satirical magazine Private Eye has been banging on about precisely this for some time, but generally nobody takes any notice of them until it’s far too late).

  16. says

    sonofrojblake@#16:
    A lot of people have to imagine that, because their entire industry and all their careers are based on it. If someone actually pointed out, with figures and graphs and so on, just how useless those ads are, customers (i.e. advertisers) might stop buying… and then where would we be?

    I dunno about “we” but I’d be fine, because I build stuff that actually is valuable and that people want.

    The advertising industry is fascinating: it’s predicated on the model “Here: That thing you don’t want? Here’s some more!” Forcing consumers to consume your stuff seems like such an obviously bad idea.

  17. says

    sonofrojblake@#17:
    (Off topic, I’m just going to leave this here:

    My favorite elite-related piece of art was done by a guy who had a friend holding (and slowly rotating) a pizza box with a slot cut into it, while a hand holding a slice of pizza (and a camera) tried to “dock” with it.

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