December 03, 2012

online impostors


You can get impostors anywhere in life. I actually saw the documentary film The Impostor earlier this year which kind of freaked me out. The way that someone could pretend to be something they weren’t for so long with gullible and impressible people falling for it.

This sort of leads me onto what this blog post is all about. Now anyone and works in PR/marketing or is a blogger/online journalist knows the relationship between PR & bloggers these days. PR’s (on behalf of their clients brands) contact bloggers to try a new product, attend a launch party or even pay them to post sponsored posts or ads. This is (or should be) relationship that is born out of mutual respect and collaboration:

pr: hey gal i’ve got a cool new product, wanna try it out?

blogger: gee thanks i’ll give it a go and if I like it i’ll tell all my readers and thank you for choosing me to get involved. Let’s be friends.

pr: yeh friends!

Now, it is true that sometimes ‘influence’ can be mistaken and tracked in the wrong way. For example, influence is how many people someone can reach, and in what way – but sometimes people cut corners in identifying it. Sometimes a PR person won’t do the the research. But, also, some bloggers can trick their way into getting free stuff. Which really isn’t what it’s about at all. The number of Twitter followers alone simply cannot represent the person’s influence or respectability in their sphere. It can often a give a clue but should not be used as a sole metric to determine someone’s priority of the list of people you’d like to contact.

Here’s why.

So on my Monday morning after making my first cup of tea, I spotted that the hashtag #Twitterfakes kept cropping up on my newsfeed. Unable to ignore it, I came across this very enlightening blog post. Have a quick read before I go on.

I then spoke to a fellow Twitter friend who had pointed out a very ‘successful’ blogger on Twitter, by this I mean he had over 202,000 followers. More than all of the top bloggers I know. More than Bip Ling or Susie Bubble.

He had coverage on his blog from leading shoe retailers, brands who had called out his strong Twitter presence and how much of a top fashion blogger he was.

Every single one of his Twitter followers was bought. A fake. No profile picture, or a stock image, with none of the accounts active. ZERO engaging readers/followers.

Not to call out anyone in particular as that would be unprofessional, but, let this be a lesson to us all, to check people out. For brand’s not to assume someone will help you promote your brand in a credible way just because they have ‘loads of Twitter followers’. It’s not OK – it’s tricking the system and not being genuine, and in any other situation as Ree puts it: it would be classed as fraud.

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