Is it OK for people or businesses to buy Twitter followers?
PHOENIX -- Social media started out as a platform to meet new people or find long-lost friends. Now, it has become an engine for business, clout, and popularity.
A post, a response, a Tweet.
The role of social media has become huge and it's a role that is ever evolving.
"People are looking to network. ... It's a huge strategy game,” said Gelie Akhenblit, CEO of NetworkingPhoenix.Com, a company that keeps people aware of in-person networking events in Phoenix.
"I am constantly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram,” she said.
"It all comes down to perception being reality," explained Jen Kaplan, owner of Evolve Public Relations, a company that gets businesses the exposure they want on television, radio or social media. Twitter plays a big role in what she does.
"I think Twitter has become all about the numbers," Kaplan said. "Whether it's political, celebrities, sports, personalities. It's all about how many people you have following you."
Twitter is not just for youngsters anymore. In a lot of ways, it's considered an accurate measurement of how much social clout one has. The number recently both presidential candidates, even Lady Gaga have been busted for acquiring fake followers just to beef up their Twitter profiles.
Tamicia Currie is the founder of 'I Will Not Bully,' a service for teens she started after learning her own daughter was bullied.
"She came home and used nine words that changed my live as a parent. She said, 'I wished I had never gone to school today,'" Currie said.
Right now, her business' Twitter account, @iwillnotbullyu, has just over 200 followers. So, would she consider buying more followers? Only if it would mean her message would be more far reaching.
“If I'm buying an audience of teens that we can get our message out, it makes sense,” Currie said.
There are several services online that allow the purchase of followers. For the most part, real followers are more expensive The price gets much cheaper if the followers are fake, meaning there would be nobody associated with the Twitter accounts you buy. They are only there to bump up your "followers" number.
Ninety-five percent of AJ Colores’ business comes from Twitter. Colores is a freelance videographer and is an extremely active social media guy.
He has more than 57,000 followers on his Twitter account, @ajcolores. But buying followers, he says, is not necessarily a bad thing.
"Buying followers is one thing, but you have got to have something to substantiate, like, OK, why are all of these people interested,” Colores said.
So, when it comes to followers, is the more really the merrier?
"If the company is putting up a fake front because of fake followers, so right away it kind of defeats the whole purpose of social media,” Akhenblit said.
"With my clients, if people aren’t coming in their door or buying their product, the number of Twitter followers doesn't matter, so at the end of the day the quality is definitely going to outweigh the quantity,” Kaplan said.
Since buying followers has become so mainstream, there are now several apps to help you figure out if someone has purchased followers. Fakers.StatusPeople.com is one them. Subscribing to the quality-over-quantity belief, we at 3TV do not buy Twitter followers, so it was no surprise to see that only 2 percent of my followers (3,666 as of this moment) are fake accounts.
What do you think about buying Twitter followers? Share your comments below.