After analyzing the 1000 bought Twitter followers, one can safely assume that all of them can be regarded as fake (“fake” meaning not representing a human user or a company) and that they were created for this purpose. The content of a typical follower has little or no meaning and is never directed to anybody else (which of course true for a lot of Tweets ). Here are some examples from the dataset:
Marietteszm – I luv ur slippers!!
Krystleia – Highlight of the day: DONT TOUCH THAT! WE DONT KNOW WHAT IT IS! .. Wtf mum, its your car.
Sherlyp52 – O değilde arka planım çoğ seksi hgadfhgdfh
Darnellct92 – My kids had a problem listening to me today,my husband was being an ass and even though my tubes are tied i might be pregnant.. what a day!
Clotildetan – asked by about saying about himself being an underdog
Another evidence for the assumption that these followers are fake, is the fact that these Twitter followers never retweet. They are completely passive. Furthermore, all of their Tweets were either posted between October 15th and 20th, on October 25th or on November 13th 2011 which cannot be a coincidence. This suggests that some kind of database in combination with a tool was used to generate these Tweets.
However, the creator of the Twitter users has put some effort into making the Twitter follower appear human. All of them had pictures and locations and short descriptions (some with sexual references) like this:
well i think i have the longest list of people who hate me ever, i call myself a villain because i fuck shit up, you aint got nothing to do ? shit give me head
The structure of network itself does not exhibit any clustering behavior: all bought Twitter followers just point to MartinTreiber_ and have only a few connections among each other. This is reflected in statistics of the network structure:
Number of vertices: 1010
Number of edges: 1179
Average degree: 2.335
Clustering coefficient: 0.112
Average embeddedness: 0.433
Graph density: 0.001
Connected components (weak/strong): 1/1010
If we move the MartinTreiber_ node to the center, apply the noverlap algorithm and zoom in, it is clearly observable that the vast majority of followers are fake, as the ratio of the number of relations to MartinTreiber_ with respect to the number of relations among the other 100 nodes is negligible.
So, what can we learn from this? Actually, it is pretty simple: if you want to boost your Twitter network stats, you can buy Twitter followers. But, if you want to extend your true reach in your Twitter network, you cannot rely on external services that boost your just numbers. You will have to make the effort to look for real people that are actually interested in your Tweets.
your ikangai science team