The New York Times asked a couple of weekends back, “Can Social Media Sell Soap?” The article pointed out that even the Pope is now on Twitter. Celebrities like the Pope and the Dalai Lama attract millions of followers. Or, do they? Twitter will never tell you the truth. But I will.
The Pope does not have 1.4 million followers. He actually has a fraction of that number.
You can prove it yourself with our simple “Follower Pooper Home Detection Kit.” No materials are required. All you do is click on the Pope’s “Followers” button on the Pope’s Twitter page (@Pontifex).
Once you see the list of followers scroll down a ways and pick a group of names at random – any group of names. I did that and the above screen shot shows a representative group of the Pope’s Twitter followers. We’ll use the names I found, but those of you who are playing at home, can use the names you find. It won’t matter.
Only of handful of the names listed are what any rational person could call legitimate Twitter accounts. The rest never tweet, don’t show any biographical information, don’t have any followers, or haven’t used their account for ages. Many qualify on every single one of these criteria.
For instance, the doofus pictured below has no followers and has tweeted once in December. But, he’s a Pope Follower:
And the yo-yo pictured below got himself motivated enough to follow 87 people somewhere along the line, but only one idiot was crazy enough to follow him back. He’s tweeted a sum total of 3 times, most recently in September, when he said, “I love my #cousins!!! They are so crazy!!!”. But, he’s a Pope Follower:
This goes on and on and on and on. I took many more screen shots, but I promise not to bore you. They are all Pope Followers.
You can check my work by doing exactly this same exercise. Most followers on Twitter aren’t active, aren’t participating, aren’t Tweeting, aren’t revealing any information about themselves, and, likely, aren’t even real people. Without question, they are not worth having as a follower.
Yes, of course, you can find some legitimate followers, but they are few and far between. Here’s an editor of a New York newspaper who is following the Pope.
If you are extremely generous, you might deem that about 1 in 10 followers of the Pope are in any way legitimate. That means that if the Pope now has a million followers, he likely has 100,000 real followers.
But NO ONE ever points this out. They keep writing things like: “Barry Boofburger has 310 followers.” Nope, sorry folks, Barry really has about 31 followers.
Twitter will never tell you this. Articles about social media will never tell you this. And, your social media director will definitely never tell you this.
In baseball, only pitchers can have a batting average of .100 and still stay in the major leagues. Yes, the dirty little secret is that the Mighty Twitter strikes out almost every time at bat.
Considering this, it’s amazing that we keep asking Twitter to step up to the plate at all. Or maybe just stupid.
This is the screen shot that I took of a ways down Sam R’s followers (see comments below):