So. I went down to the Social Media Blackmarket to procure some followers. As a blogger, I want lots of followers for the simple reason that if you have, say, just two followers and one of them is make-believe, it looks like hardly anybody is reading your blog.
The idea of a blog, as with every phase of life, is to project the bathos-free image of a cool and endlessly wise hummer a-hum with electrically-charged particles associated with the intrinsic spin. For some reason, intrinsically spun scientists don’t actually call it that. They like the magnetic dipole moment. 1 (Not to be confused with magnetic dipole dancing which is a horse — in some cultures an aardvark — of a different color.)
Let’s review: So, a-hum, blah, blah, etc.
Now. The best way to maintain your magnetic dipole is to get lots o’ followers. Look, status seekers no longer rely on tired, flesh and blood toadies, suckups, gofers or reluctant relatives. They have learned that life offers nothing more electrifying than getting your particles abuzz with a magnetic woowoo, and having someone you’ve never met click they “like” you and are following you.2
Sadly, it can all come crashing down the moment you ask each follower (politely, if necessary) to send you a dollar. If the typical rate of response is, let’s say 13 per cent and you have just two followers, you can do the math or have your sharp nephew do it for you. Either way, you’re talking maybe 17 cents and you have to take out for social security and the prohibitive mime tax. Don’t forget a nickel for your nephew.
But let’s say you have 300,000 followers. At a buck-a-head, thirteen per cent is roughly $641. And even after you pay taxes and give your nephew his nickel, you come out of it with, let’s see, three times zero is…um drop the zero (next to the pretense), put your numerator very carefully over your denominator (prohibited in Iowa and Kansas) add the one, carry the dog, divide by Zunar and you come away with…Wow, almost $227 bucks that you can spend on anything.
This raises two questions. First, why would any follower send you a dollar just because you asked them to? The answer is complex but it boils down to this: who knows? In fact, who cares as long as they do. And they do — as many as 25 or 26 (including, unfortunately, the cheapos who will cluck and mewl about getting a receipt.) Still, a tidy profit with or without the nephew.
The second question is where do you get these 300,000 followers? The second answer: It’s as easy as opening a Social Media account and clicking peeps into your cart.
(Not sure if this matters, but a lot of your purchased peeps are simulated real people who have been denuded of their real life numbers, letters and punctuation3 and then run through a people shredder. Take the very real Bob Bobertson of Bimidji, Minnesota. A name snatcher stole his poop and slightly altered it to avoid originality and prosecution. The result: my newest follower, Bobo Schlobertson of Bemidget, Minnieminoso.)
By the way, these fake followers are known as bots. Not to be confused with people who have botulism (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) They include Virtual bots (combining the idea of virtue with a guy named Al) and Half-bots (essentially half-asses, but sometimes confused with complete asses, raging asses, and molasses in January.)
Bots look as real as real can be. According to an expose in The New York Times4, one bot-pushing, name-swiper said “Our followers look like any other followers and are always delivered naturally.” (Less respectable vendors deliver their followers by Caesarean section or by singing telegram.)
The Times guy also said you can’t tell the real from the fake. “The only way anyone will know is if you tell them.”
Curiously, this is also the first law of teaching anything, from Latin grammar, to how to silence your cell phone when it suddenly plays L-O-L-A Lola at a funeral.
Might as well throw in the second law of teaching: “The only way you will know they are listening and give a rat’s ass is if they start laughing hysterically and throw dead rats at you.” Which is encouraging on two counts. One, they are listening. Two, the rats are dead.
1. Actually, there is a third question. Would they send more than a dollar if you asked politely, or implied (whined?) that you need the money to make the bad man go away?
2.They may or may not be armed.
3. Some places have not yet cracked down on punctuation theft, arguing “If you outlaw dangling participles, only outlaws will have dangling participles and guns. (See “If you outlaw guns…”).
4. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html .
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.