Does this look plausible?

So, as many of you know, it is candidate nomination season. There are many people vying for the chance to be a candidate for various seats. In this day and age, with social media gaining in importance even nominees for various parties for electorates are starting social media accounts. Nominees must feel that having a strong social media profile will support them in their campaign for the nomination. However, if that is the case, surely the following that profile should be real.


Clare Wilson is seeking the Labour nomination for the Bay of Plenty seat, which will have no incumbent due to Tony Ryall retiring at the coming election. Now, it is great that potential candidates are wanting to join social media. It is also great that current MPs, and known activists, from that party are following the potential candidates.



Lets have a look at some more of those followers.



So it is obvious that this account is a new creation, it has sent two Tweets, midnight when this post was written. However, the interesting fact is the number of accounts it is following, and that are following it.  For an account that looks to be only a few hours old, following 59 accounts is not a bad number. I remember after I created my account, it doesn’t take long for you to get bored of sitting there clicking follow. However, the figure that jumps out at me is the number of followers. 389, in a couple of hours? Even a couple of days? And with only two Tweets? Now, The reason I included the two Tweets in the screen grab above, was so you can compare the first Tweet, with the following screen grab, which shows the time the Tweet was sent.



So we have an account that is hours old, that has sent two Tweets, has followed 59 accounts, but someone has 389 followers? Does that sound plausible to you? Lets have a look at some of the other followers.


So we have three followers who look plausible, Tony Milne, DJ Ed-X and Steve Morris, but the rest don’t really fit the profile of the sort of person you would expect to follow an account like this. But benefit of the doubt must be given.









If you look at the screen grabs above, we have a number of corporate type accounts, as well as a number that appear to be based in the UK and a large number of them that do not really fit the profile of who you would expect to be following this sort of account.


As Ian Apperley points out in his blog comparing Jack Yan and Celia Wade-Brown’s Twitter presence, an account with a following to follower ratio of 1:6.5 is someone who is intent on broadcasting, not using Twitter to listen.


So what we have here is a new account, possibly hours old, with a large number of followers, two tweets, and followers who do not fit the profile of those who normally follow political twitter accounts. The conclusion that comes to mind is that a number of these followers have been bought.