Do I know You? Are your Social Media Connections Real?

Sometimes simply getting your message out is all you need with social media. In the past month I’ve noticed a tremendous amount of fake accounts, false connections, and questionable promotion techniques all in an effort to gain more exposure using social media. I’ve harped in past posts, including Social Media Sincerity Is Needed When Promoting, on the importance of building relationships when using social media. I’ll discuss two recent events including my own personal experiment to show you how deceiving everything can be.

It seems that spammers were keeping a close eye on blogs and the media in regards to how how social media, Twitter especially, was going to blow up in 2009. The trends are showing their accuracy as Twitter is blowing up… With spammers.

In the past month I’ve received over 50 notifications coming from people such as Lee Oden with their user name actually being _leeodden_ . That’s right spammers are grabbing popular user name’s like Lee Oden, Rand Fiskin, Guy Kawasaki, and more in hopes you’ll actually go to their site that’s doing some kind of pyramid scheme. These activities are quickly overtaking the Nigerian scam e-mails as the latest and greatest spamming techniques. While Twitter is catching on, these accounts usually become suspended within a day and deleted within a week, they are still getting through. Spammers wouldn’t do this unless their were successful scams.

In a less harmful tactic there is the idea of connecting with anyone that might have something in common with you.


Today I received an e-mail from Jonathan Lopossa who stated we were colleague’s at Dick’s Sporting Goods and wanted to connect with me on LinkedIn. The problem was I never worked with Jonathan. Johnathan currently works for Dick’s in Indianapolis and I stopped working in the Portland store back in September! It makes me wonder why people would try such tactics, that is until I tried and was successful myself.

The Law of Impressions states the more people you get a product or article in front of the greater likeilhood you have of it catching fire and becoming mainstream. I realized the incredible promotional power Facebook had and decided to try my own little experiment during the first few months of this blog. I’ve always been someone who valued quality over quantity when it came to using social media tools. I only connected and friended friends who I actually talked to and communicated with. It seems my generation spawned the need to boast about the number of friends they had posting gaudy numbers I simply couldn’t’ conceptualize. My experiment spawned from this very generational defect.

As many people have discovered when your friends sign into their Facebook profile a news feed is displayed showing your friends status and recent activity. Using the Facebook Application for Twitter I was able to change my Facebook status to display my tweets. I also had Twitter setup so that once my blog posts went live Twitter would tweet the title of my post with a link. The result: Displaying every blog post with link to all of my friends via my status.

I decided to go on a friending binge. I friended everyone I went to high school with, everyone I worked with, everyone I thought I knew, and kept friending for a solid week. It was truly amazing to see people that I had never met in my life friend me in an instant. I finally had a pool of 450 friends that I could test with. The results were staggering! My blog’s traffic increased by 125% with one-third of the traffic coming by way of Facebook.

The results the spammers and I have generated prove their are people out there willing to click on just about anything. I believe the more these schemes spawn, the more educated social media users will become, and thus the more reluctant users will be to click on any link. Forging legtimate, sustaining, and personal relationships with individuals will ensure greater success. Afterall it’s not about how much traffic you sustain, but how much value you can truly provide.

One thought on “Do I know You? Are your Social Media Connections Real?

  1. Most social media users aren’t your typical web surfer…for instance, I still think that twitter is right on the precipice of going mainstream but the majority of its users are still the “web savvy” group.

    I know what you are saying about a web traffic increase. But the real question is what did your metrics say about the traffic you were getting? Did the people stay on the page? Was the bounce rate and time spent on site high or low? Did it affect your overall bottom line?

    I bet that it was pretty much the “digg” like junk traffic that eats up bandwidth but doesn’t have a high ROI…traffic for traffic’s sake. If not, I would be surprised.

    I will have to take a look at the law of impressions…sound like an interesting theory. Interesting post, Jesse.

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