I decided to track the number of Jill Zarin followers because she claims there was a massive influx due to the Real Housewives reruns playing overseas. And she says all those people saying she PAID for followers, well they’re of course, just HATERS.
Just for fun, I decided to start logging in the number of followers every day or two for the next couple weeks. Because she’s being carefully watched, I expect the number to suddenly freeze. One doesn’t want get a random influx of new followers and be caught in the act. But since she’ll likely read this, she may try the reverse psychology – steadily adding more and more followers at the same rate to avoid detection. Allegedly of course. (These are the kind of train wrecks I love to watch. Nobody dies a horrible, fiery death.)
You can buy followers. It’s no secret. Michaele Salahi did this famously a year or so ago. Someone told me Kathy Wakile of the Real Housewives of New Jersey also randomly added 90,000 new followers overnight. Some think it might be because if you’re doing ad promotions on Twitter, you make more money if you have more followers. I think it’s more of an image thing, and keeping up with the Kardashians (or at least trying). Something along the lines of “Fake it ’til you make it.” Nobody wants to become one of those Real Housewives who leave the show and are never heard from again.
I’ve heard the phrase “EggGate” being applied to this. So how did this come to my attention? I saw a Tweet from Lynn Hudson on Twitter a couple weeks ago. It seemed like a casual mention, then I started talking about it on Twitter. Now it’s a regular conversation. Her old Real Housewives co-stars Alex and Simon even gave her a dig saying they earned their Twitter followers.
Update: Someone on Twitter posed a question, why haven’t the numbers doubled for any other Real Housewives of NYC? They only love Jill? (Thanks @Rainthebrain for your comment!)
On December 30, 2011, I made a note in a blog post that Jill had 230,000 followers. I mentioned this because she had made a “promo” saying she had 250,000 followers. (Wishful thinking.) She managed to amass 230,000 followers over the course of about 3 or more years since she began on the Real Housewives of NYC. Nothing to be ashamed of. Unless you’re comparing yourself to other TV personalities who have way more followers.
Suddenly, in 4 months, we’re staring at half a million followers. The Real Housewives of NYC aren’t on TV, at least not any new episodes. And she’s not even on the show anymore. And she wants us to believe the massive worldwide interest in past seasons of the Real Housewives doubled her followers overnight? If she’s getting this big of a jump in followers due to worldwide interest in the Housewives, and I were running Bravo, I would exclusively target an international audience because there must be a hundred million people watching the show outside of the US.
How to spot paid Twitter followers.
-An egg instead of a photo is a frequent giveaway, because people who actually use Twitter tend to put SOMETHING in their profile photo. Even if it’s a photo of a cat. Not always, but if you see a lot of these it’s a sign. More of an omen.
-A lot of followers from other countries for no apparent reason. Sorry, I don’t believe for a minute there’s a solid Real Housewives fanbase in Jakarta.
-Twitter users with no profiles or no Tweets. Or just one or two Tweets. In other words, a person who isn’t using Twitter. An imaginary person. Some might call this a “bot.”
-Followers that don’t seem to have ANYTHING in common with a person. Someone passionate about rap music and gang lyrics doesn’t watch the Real Housewives. Normally.
-Followers who don’t have any, or many, followers. You know, because who wants to follow a robot that never Tweets? I’m NOT a robot hater. In fact, I love robots. I just prefer they engage in thoughtful meaningful conversation, not just sit there lurking all the time.
-Followers that haven’t Tweeted in a LONG time. So they Tweeted 5 months ago — twice, and I’m supposed to believe suddenly a teenage guy from France is now interested in following Jill Zarin because he saw a Real Housewives repeat?
-Too many followers with randomized first and last name combinations. Instead of say a username like @rawveggies. You know, because the computer program is designed to use names from a database, not other random words. They like to see real looking names, not random words from the dictionary like “crab cakes” or “dental floss.”
Another thing I’ve noticed is that a large chunk of followers randomly disappear. My suspicion is that Twitter knows there is a lot of bot garbage and it purges many of the obvious ones. This explains why she had over 500,000 followers two weeks ago, celebrated, then dropped way below that number. Now she gets to do two celebratory happy dances because she’s passing the 500,000 mark twice.
Here’s where I start officially logging the number of followers each day. Too bad I didn’t start doing this back in January, it would have been absolutely fascinating.
April 24, 2012 – 499,313 followers.
April 25, 2012 – 499,956 (Gained 314 followers since the night before) I checked back 30 minutes later and somehow the number moved up to 501,424. A net gain of 2,111 since last night.
April 26, 2012 – Surprise, she dropped to 488,529 followers. How do you lose 12,895 followers overnight? Now if you didn’t pay for followers, it would be a serious concern if almost 13,000 people collectively hit the unfollow button and ran for the hills. But if you did pay for them, it seems logical that Twitter would “flush out” the most obvious egg bots.
April 27. 491,257 followers. She’s bumping back up. At this rate, in another week or so, she might be celebrating breaking through the “half million” mark for the second time.
April 29. 501,593 followers. Didn’t even take a week! I guess congratulations are in order for crossing over the half million mark. For the second time this month! Did someone win a prize?