Andrew Goodman wrote a fabulous piece about Twitter, calling Guy Kawasaki to task for his SES New York keynote on gaming Twitter.
I am not going to quote all of the excellent points Andrew makes about using automation (follow bots) to AstroTurf. I have been amused by my (small) army of Zombie followers on Twitter who seem to appear after I post a tweet. I assume most of them must be auto follow bots because I am not that famous and my tweats are frankly not that interesting. Anyone who is following more than about 500 people is most likely not actually monitoring the account at all.
I have mixed opinions about some of the observations about Guy Kawasaki’s self promoting strategies and self-aggrandizing metrics. Narcissism and Twitter go hand in hand. Because Obama and Brittany does it, is it OK? I am not sure, although I give props to those celebrities who actually tweet themselves, I am not ready to absolutely condemn those who hire shills to make announcements for them. Does it matter whether Brittany types 140 characters to announce her tour dates or a radio appearance? Probably not. Does it matter when a well known marketer talks about how to build a list of followers and game the system to spam them? Absolutely.
Where Goodman really nails the issue it is when he talked about the impact on Twitter.
So why do I think that he could singlehandedly ruin Twitter, if its brand, community, and technology aren’t robust enough? I think mostly about how a fashion-forward digital brand can be reduced to a sort of flea market image, just by the actions and presence of a prevalence of certain kinds of members. When that happens, eventually the value declines (think eBay) and the cool kids start scouting around for somewhere that isn’t overrun by hawkers and pitchmen and auto-generated babble. To say nothing of desperate losers trying to build their “downline.”
Andrew, welcome to the crusade against Virtual Blight.