Purchasing Twitter followers
If you don’t grasp the notion that social media is all about social currency and credibility, then you basically don’t grasp the core premise of social media. Following on from this train of thought, it therefore stands to reason that by purchasing a social media following, you undermine this social currency. Which is why the purchasing of Twitter followers or Facebook likes (or any other quantifiable social media metric synonymous with popularity) is an age-old dilemma that many businesses go through.
Social media revolves around the notion of identity and the representation of oneself, which is why users are so vehemently protective of their social media “integrity” (an issue that I really do identify with, have struggled with, have seen others struggle with). I suppose that it touches on the polarising issue of commodification — of things that should remain untouchable or inherently uncorruptable by money, but aren’t. Connecting this to a wider issue, philosophical bents similar to this are why people feel so strongly about Occupy and the 1% — opinions now have the capacity to be bought. And people have a problem with that.
Gauchely purchasing a following also has the added bonus of broadcasting to the world that you don’t really understand how social media works, nor really value it. Because social media mimics real-life class stratification and schoolyard hierarchies by perpetuating the time-honoured “us vs. them” mentality, self-inflicted devaluing of social currency (the worst kind) results in further ostracism by social media’s core constituents and power-players. This “shunning” (thank you, Stargirl) is similar to when brands censor comments, press, parodies and other user-generated content (often because it’s negative, but sometimes simply because it wasn’t officially sanctioned), thereby demonstrating a lack of finesse and understanding regarding the nature of social media as a two-way conversation.
You take the good with the bad.
Social media is built on the notion of WOM — of promoters who promote because they genuinely want to spread the word about a message/brand/product/what-have-you, and happily do so without monetary compensation, simply because the offering is so great. Which is why the action of tying a brand to their identity, of going out on a limb like that and willing to risk it all, inherently conveys that brand’s worth. As personal, non-marketing sources of information, WOM sources are invaluable in terms of credibility and trustworthiness and “organically” winning people over.
So back to the original quandry of paying for Twitter followers. A quick Google search will show that there are an abundance of companies which provide this service. No matter what human demand calls for, there will always be someone around who will meet that demand (scruples, be damned). Someone always benefits — even during all-round calamities like the Great Depression. Personally, I think that if you’re the first to identify and meet a particular need (or jump on the bandwagon later, but do it better), then you deserve to be rich. Law of the jungle.
I’m not ashamed to say that I paid for my initial influx of followers. It’s simply strategic to do so, when the decision to follow often hinges on the perceived existing social legitimacy and influence of a user. USD $1.20 netted me a cool 200 followers in 2 days (most of them bots, but I didn’t think that paying slightly more to get “better quality” followers would make much difference).
A quick, easy and painless process to gain the gift that keeps on giving.