Do numbers represent the true states of affairs on Social Media?
There is an inherent drawback with twitter follower counts, Facebook likes and fan followings. They can be manipulated!
We already know of Feedburner counter on blogs. Feedburner counters could easily be faked, by a number of ways. There were services, where if only you copy and paste your feed links, it used to start showing surge in subscriber counts. People even used to manipulate to show the number of some other popular blogs. Once it fell into the hands of Google, Feedburner counters went under a massive correction to show the real states of affairs. Now, if Google detects that subscriber is actually never interacting with the blog, it won’t count as subscriber. Several people faking counter were permanently terminated from availing the service. Even in those days when people were faking the counter, several bloggers experimented and concluded numbers just doesn’t influence more people to subscribe.
Now with change of time, habits too changed. There are many new services which are preferred over RSS subscription. Facebook and Twitter are the new ways of subscribing to a blog. Old habits die hard. Now, there are paid services which can give you 1500 Twitter followers for cheap. They are both real people like you and dead accounts who just count, depending on the kind of service provider you engage with. Just because so many people want to boost their Follower Count, it has grown into an industry. There are such “Social Media Optimizers” who can give you large number of followings and likes, but all through low level manipulations. Some of them even ensure interactions, by which they mean their own dedicated staff would be communicating with you and people around you entering into one sock after another. What the Fun! A good argument given in favor of these people is that just like people sitting in a restaurant motivates others to visit and are preferred over those which are empty, this strategy attracts real people and they love to join them.
Now we have two conflicting aspects of this story. Faking a RSS counter proved to be a useless exercise. Faking a social media number or inflating it is fruitful! Can you buy this logic? A famous quote – You can make others’ fool more than one time but not every time. So, some people may be tricked to following you but they can always unsubscribe and unfollow or unlike, provided they are Humans. On social media platforms try to look beyond numbers to see what lies beneath it.