Understanding What Twitter Stats Really Mean

Keith's note: The NASA Astrobiology Institute recently notedthat "AstrobiologyNAI now has over one million followers!" on Twitter. One small problem: a close look at the followers for NAI's Twitter account will show that a substantial portion are fake accounts used for spam or other marketing scams. Just go through them and you will see. These accounts have no profile pictures or information, follow (at most) a couple of dozen accounts, and rarely if ever post anything. And when they do post something they do so once and it is often not in English - and yet all of NAI's Twitter postings are in English. To be certain, some of NASA's Twitter accounts are wildly popular and are of great value. But in this instance, the numerical popularity of NAI's Twitter account is due mostly to spam, not content. NAI has been informed of this issue more than once by a number of people inside and outside of NASA, but the NAI folks seem intent upon boasting about this number without understanding what it actually means. There are ways to scan and remove spam and scam followers. NAI should look into this.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 10, 2010 4:28 PM.

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