Twitter - Fakes, Frauds and Phonies

Michael Bickerton By Michael Bickerton

Aug 21, 2012

Every so often something happens that I think is worth bringing to your attention just for information’s sake. But, before I get too far, it’s important to give you some background:

a) Around 50% of all tweets are even read

b) Twitter, to many, is personal

c) The Toronto Social Media and Blog scene is active

d) Twitter is a community

e) Purchasing Twitter followers and Facebook likes is easy and inexpensive

f) There are new apps out that allow anyone to evaluate followers

 The app link is here

 @askbick’s rating: (which seems to change daily)

50% Fake / 3% Inactive / 47% Good – which means we have over 71,000 followers and over 33,500 real live twitter followers. A pretty good number in both cases.

So with that background to this story, here we go. One Toronto Social Media Sports styled blogger (that I never heard of, just as they’ve likely never heard of me) by the name of Troy Oakley, has taken exception to many others regarding fake or inactive followers.

The video links are here, and I believe that at some point soon, he’d be wise to remove them. The primary video rant is 9 minutes and the secondary one is 12 minutes. I would suggest that a smart guy would have taken them down by the time you read this, but … then again.

The Truth About Those In Social Media

Aftermath ... the Sequel to "The Truth About Those In Social Media

Frankly, I was taken aback by the viciousness of the attack on so many in the Toronto Social Media and sports scene.  The rant struck me as completely unprofessional and uncalled-for, it was definitely an unfair and unwarranted attack.

Twitter to me isn’t that personal, I’m usually a little glib, I do some teasing, I like to have fun … and I’ve lost few followers due to my teasing as some are so one sided in their thoughts in support of a team like the Penguins, or the Stealers, or the TV show The Bachelor that I just can’t hold back. As a result, the unfollow backlash.

The attack by Troy Oakley was uncalled-for and apparently there was enough feedback to that he felt that a sequel was in order - yes amazing. Here is what that “well rounded, fun, entertaining” Oakley had to say:

“Honesty lacking, Integrity of camel dung, you guys are frauds, fishy, fake followers, inactive followers, want this guy representing you, I’m calling it out, he’s a fake, no short cuts to honesty, not honest online, not honest in person, never liked Steve Dangle, he’s no better than anyone else, you're all fake, you have tons and tons of fakes, bigger issue buying followers, fake followers to get positions at the CBC, fraudulent, not dropping F bombs, your guys are frauds, people buying followers are frauds, I’m the second most influential tweeter in Toronto, big sphere of influence, I’ve got my integrity, I’ve got my morals, I’m honest, I’m compassionate, I hope you lose your credibility, if your credibility is based on lies you don’t deserve the positions, you don’t’ deserve the respect, these guys are fakes, I’ve got the proof, if you're fake and you’ve been caught you have no one to blame but yourself, blindly deluded to follow you, build their image on false pretenses, support liars, no integrity and liars I have no time and patience for this.”

Oakley also had the audacity to call out some of the most influential bloggers and sports personalities on Twitter in Toronto. Pardon the misspellings some of them I don’t know of, here is some of the list:

Cox, Mirtle, McKenzie, Simmons, Jeffler, Stewart, Dangle, Warren - while calling Jeffler the biggest fake!

In any event, a Toronto Social Media circus, Troy Oakley is someone that I had not heard of prior to this incident. Frankly, I think his Don Cherry Impersonation went just a touch too far.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind. The basics of human decency and respect are required offline and online. Oakley could use some advice from Dale Carnegie’s "How to Win Friends and Influence People". A Christmas gift perhaps?

“Good manners are appreciated as much as bad manners are abhorred. “

Additionally, keep in mind when using social media you are dealing with the general public, as such, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. all have a very sensitive component. We see this element as well when utilizing email marketing - the sometimes irrational responses from the general public do not include common sense or the elements of basic decently.

On to the issue: fake, non-fake, purchased, begged, borrowed or stolen. In my opinion it’s not overly relevant. As an example, I follow news feeds I’m interested in, digital marketers, email marketers, Toronto people, Sarasota people, sports writers (most around hockey) and friends, i.e. Richard Griffin at the Star or Dave Dutton at the Ottawa Citizen.

I normally follow and engage those who do the same, I don’t usually look at their following or followers accounts, but occasionally I do. Keep in mind; if my credibility is based upon my twitter followers, then I’d suggest that I need to re think my self-image.

Personally, I’ve purchased followers for our own accounts as well as client accounts especially when they are startups. We’ve found it’s always easier to build a following when we have an established presence. Simple really.

Big advertisers have always bought and paid for positions, with Television commercials, News paper & Magazine Ads, Yellow page listings and even direct mail. I’m confused why buying followers on Twitter or likes on Facebook are that much different, in my view, it’s simple.

Troy Oakley, I’ve heard what you have to say, and respectfully disagree. The value of Twitter and social media is in your relationships, and if somehow you feel threatened or unjustly encumbered by having a low twitter following, my advice would be to go and buy a few followers. I think the going rate is only $39.00 for 5000 followers. Pretty good value and obviously it will make you feel a bit better with your online presence. I’m surprised you haven’t served with a lawsuit for libel, I for one would certainly have started proceedings if you included me that fine group.

Interestingly, Zach Bussey a respected Toronto Social Media type has posted a blog on this issue Faker than Faux Fur. Zach got my interest, as he feels that Twitter somehow and for some reason should take this issue seriously. Zach (who I follow) leaves the reader with the feeling that this issue is somewhat sinister, and that there is a cause for concern, "this is a problem that is only going to get worse unless Twitter acts now".

I just don't see it the way Zack does. Theatre types have "papered theatre" since inception, does this make the theatre any less valuable? I just don't see how this impacts anyone, and certainly not in a sinister fashion.

I'm sure at some point Twitter may well want to ensure that there are live accounts as the cost of maintaining "inactive" accounts may well be too expensive. But from a user perspective, there are no issues ... and those buying followers are entitled to do so at this point time.


My advice - can't beat them, join them! For those of you interested, you can purchase Twitter Followers and a few other things at the link following.

As well, my message to Cox, Mirtle, McKenzie, Simmons, Jeffler, Stewart, Dangle, and Warren, (I follow a few of you), I wish you continued success. Not every one would agree that your Twitter follower count is either honest or dishonest. In fact in most ways it’s not relevant. Clearly the number of twitter followers and how anyone obtains them is their own personal business, unless I missed the memo making Oakley the Twitter Police.

The take away for clients, companies and brands be careful out there, there are lots and varied opinions on social media. Companies and brands have to be double careful and respectful of the social media community. There are people, real people with real feelings, real emotions and real baggage as well.  Social Media is a fantastic branding and engagement tool, but as in this example can be used in a negative fashion.

Fakes, frauds and phonies  … well, my guess is that the media exposure was not anticipated by Oakley, and actually backfired. His Don Cherry impersonation is clearly a result of Sour Grapes. Likely, there won’t be a job waiting for Mr. Oakley at MLSE, not now ... not ever.

Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd., Toronto, August 2012

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