Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    The Dark Side of Twitter

    I've seen a very interesting phenomenon going on in the Twitter-verse recently. It has brought to my attention that Twitter (and micro-blogging in general) can be used for reasons that are not above-board. What, pray-tell, is this dark and nefarious phenomenon?

    I keep getting followed by prostitutes.

    The first time it happened I just thought it was some random individual with a sick sense of self. However, the next day, another woman of the same ilk followed me, and the next day another. That's when I started getting curious (not about what the women offered, but about what was really going on).

    Invariably, they all posted a provocative picture of a woman with at least one post which was anywhere from lewd to slightly suggestive. That post would have a link attached. The link takes you to some triple-X "dating" service. Within a couple of days the account is shut down (you get the "Nothing to see here, move along" message when you try to visit the account).

    No doubt, for some reason I am not aware of my twitter user name has been picked up by this "dating" service and they keep following me with fake accounts, all in vain hopes of promoting their "service". It's all at least partly automated, it has to be, and there's probably one person sitting behind a desk creating profiles then running those profiles through some tool they had custom made to follow a few thousand people.

    The practice, though, really brings questions to my mind about what twitter can't be used for. If it can be used for prostitute marketing, why not black-market marketing or subversive political marketing? Why even marketing at all? I once had the privilege of speaking with an individual that detailed how an anarchist group used Twitter to attempt to disrupt the RNC in Colorado.

    Of course, far from being upset by all of this I tend to think of this as rather ingenious. What uses can Twitter serve? What's the most creative use any of you have seen?


    Chris Warner said...

    I once made a post about fishing in Wyoming. Within a few days I had 2 Twitter followers from Fishing Guide companies.

    rls03 said...

    Sorry Mike...that was me testing out some software my buddy at ODU was hacking up. Just kidding. I got one tweet from a prostitute that asked me "Did you sleep good last night?" I replied back "No, I made a few mistakes."