I am 100% positive that most of you have read about, or at least heard of, human trafficking: “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, illegally or legally, in order to control them for the purpose of exploitation.”
But the question is: Have you ever heard of Twitter followers trafficking? I would have to assume not.
So, what do I mean by the “trafficking of followers”? Is it as bad as it sounds? And if given the chance, would you actually try to discreetly exploit your Twitter followers by selling them for a certain amount of money, without their knowledge?
Twitter Followers: Their real, undisclosed value…
Imagine that on a given day, you take a one minute break from your tweeting activities and decide to check the inbox in your direct messages. To your surprise, you find the following message: “Are you interested in selling your Twitter followers? Contact me through e-mail for negotiations.” What would you do?
Naturally, the normal reaction would be to either reply with a “no” or simply ignore such a message since you have, supposedly, worked really hard to attain and retain these followers and you have built, on more than one level, many relations with some of them as well.
Sadly though, that’s not the way it goes! Check out the following examples to get a better understanding of what I mean:
- Bet Your Followers – the game. With a slogan that reads “Cause mayhem in your social circle by betting your Twitter followers” and the following description “gamble with your Twitter followers like never before… win more or even lose your existing followers“, Twitter followers are now items used to replace currency!
- Selling followers on eBay:
- “There’s an eBay sale going on at the moment for Twitter accounts. This one is up for grabs at $30 for 400 Twitter Followers.” I wonder the $3o cost was based on what exactly? The number of body parts?!
- Another eBay Moment! Rocketboom founder, Andrew Baronit, decided to sell his account, and followers, because he claims that he is not “treating them well enough due to lack of time”!
It seems to me that, to many Twitter users, followers have become a mere number, tool or object, forgetting the fact that they are, as I always say, human beings with stories, problems and so on.
Since Twitter will suspend your account if you decide to publicly sell your followers, i.e, your account, a thought just hit me the other day: How many people are willing to sell, or even are already selling, their Twitter followers discreetly: through e-mail, phone or through other means? And isn’t this, one some level, similar to human trafficking?
Think about this for a second: Your followers are following you for a certain reason, may it be your tweets, your user name, your avatar or background, or even just to promote to you certain links, beliefs, products or services that may actually be of interest to you. But at the end of the day, it was you whom they decided to follow!
Would you actually lead them on and give them away? Moreover, some of your Twitter followers become like real friends; they trust you, praise you, share with you the good and the bad, is it right to sell them away for financial gains? Would you do that with your real friends?
Finally, it’s a matter of choice…
There are many actions people could do, crimes you could commit – and get away with, like spamming and hacking! The real issue is: How far can one take the power he/she has, especially through powerful tools such as social media channels?
So finally, the question is not what Mashable asked: “Would you gamble with your Twitter followers?“, it is: “Would YOU sell your Twitter followers?”