There has been a lot of noise over the last 24 hours about the new website TweepMe, thanks specifically to AlohaArleen and her consistent promotion for the website on Twitter to her large audience. Arleen also wrote a blog under the guise of it being “research” where she interviews the owner of the site. I was appalled to see some of the comments on her blog where people were thanking her for her “research”.
Unfortunately her “research” was pretty much an infomercial for the site and without a look at how similar sites like TweepMe have been used in social media before. Like a lot of self proclaimed social media experts her vision and scope of knowledge doesn’t go very far back.
When MySpace began to really explode growth wise and people began to become aware and see how large of a fan base MySpace “celebrities” had they saw it as a way to promote themselves, their band, their standup, or whatever. Some other people saw it as an opportunity to grow accounts and sell them to people that didn’t want to build. This growth, popularity, and yearning is something we are seeing on Twitter now.
The thing is the early adopters to the service had built up a sizable following through various means and these new members wanted to get to those numbers without investing the time or producing the content. So a lot of people used “friend trains” in order to gain friends. The premise was simple. You sign up and you were given a certain number of people to add to your profile. Each time you signed in or added those people another group would emerge and of course your profile would show up for other users. Some of them ran on point systems, some ran like pyramid schemes, and the main goal was to juice your numbers as well as the other people signed up for it.
These trains worked, you could generate tons of “friends” in a relatively short amount of time. But in reality what did you really gain from doing something like this? Very little except for an inflated number and an inflated sense of worth. Of course the people that ran these trains were the ones that really gained. They often started them out for free to build up a user base and then charged new people once they could deliver some numbers.
The problem is there are major issues with this strategy. First of all you aren’t adding people that you will be interested in or that will be interested in you. It isn’t targeted, there is no shared interest, and all you are doing is adding that is as numbers crazy as you are. What is the point? What is the gain?
People sign up for these things to take a shortcut because they want to shout whatever message they have. The same reason you have for signing up for the service. With a bunch of people all shouting at each other who is actually going to listen to your message? The quality of good connection is gone for a quantity of unqualified numbers with only self-interest at heart.
Now I know I am someone that says that there is no ONE way to use social media and that you should decide how you want to use it. But there is nothing social about this, it is just a way to pad stats and allow people to create the aura of authority. If you are doing this for a client it is an even bigger failure because you haven’t filled their friends list with real people just other self-promoters. I fail to see any use for this site or others like it except to pad statistics.