Did WPLG buy a bunch of Twitter followers This Week?

Did WPLG buy a bunch of Twitter followers This Week?

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Social media is big, and with old media embracing it we’ve seen local media in particular pump their social media follower count like it’s the new ratings standard. We’ve had iPad giveaways, vacation getaway giveaways, viewers of the day, even car giveaway entries in exchange for a like or a follow on Twitter and Facebook. But one can also outright buy followers if they knew where to look. Some of us even get spammed daily with offers for “Real following Twitter followers”.

Enter two days ago, when a tipster alerted me to WPLG’s Twitter account @WPLGLocal10 and how fast they were gaining followers. They were literally adding 1,000+ followers per hour. Shortly after a few others emailed SFLTV about it, even viewers who found it humorous they’re being followed and unfollowed by WPLG on Twitter.

And all of this happening on a really slow news day, with not much happening. People we talked to alleged WPLG bought Twitter followers. Now, ever since the social media giveaways started I added every single local media account to a service where I can track their growth and get alerts daily and weekly with trends and number of followers that’s how I was able to create those social media ratings posts from a while back. So using that let’s have a look at the last 3 days of @WPLGLocal10. You can draw your own conclusions.

Analyzing the public data

In all of September 2015, the month of the #LoveLocal10 promotion, WPLG gained exactly 7,249 followers in all 30 days. Between September 7 and 20th @WPLGLocal10 account followed 17,387 users then unfollowed 15,437 accounts on the 20th, our best guess for this discrepancy would be that they were following back viewers as the #LoveLocal10 event was happening then unfollowed a whole bunch of them. That’s just best guess on our part.

WPLG September Followers vs Following
WPLG September 1-30 Followers vs Following

As you can see, the blue followers line gradually goes up during September, from 26,720 followers on September 1st to 33,969 on September 30th. No spikes or aberations. All throughout the month @WPLGLocal10 rarely added more than 150 followers daily. Actually, on most days they added less than 100 followers.

And below, the follower graph during the first 8 days of October compared to the whole month of September. Al Gore would be envious of that hockey stick.

WPLG September - October Followers vs Following
WPLG Twitter Followers September 1st to October 8th 2015

To break it down, on October 6th 2015 @WPLGLocal10 had 34,852 followers and followed 18,947. On that day it gained 2,437 followers. The next day however, October 7th, it gained 38,470 followers while unfollowing 11,934 accounts. On October 8th @WPLGLocal10 added another 10,008 followers reaching around 83,330 followers and that’s when everything tapered off.

So who’s following @WPLGLocal10?

According to a quick analysis of @WPLGLocal10 followers by segment using Followerwonk:

  • 50,254 or 60.2% have 1 to 49 followers
  • 9,523 or 11.4% have no followers at all
  • 25,740 or 30.8% have never sent out a single tweet
  • 24,078 or 28.9% have not tweeted in at least 1 year

Quick look through some of the follower account data there are pages and pages of accounts with names like @wLMetsuboF6, @P1robertr4836x1 and so on.

 

 

As I gathered information for this post I ran across a curious tweet from one of WPLG’s real followers who wondered why he was followed then unfollowed. Someone @WPLGLocal10 replied that it was a “brief unfollow of passion”. Going back to the data, we can see that was October 7th, the day @WPLGLocal10 unfollowed 11,934 accounts.

wplg-local10-unfloowing-users

All told in the span of less than 3 days WPLG added an extra 48,478 followers most of whom either have no location or if they do thousands aren’t even in South Florida.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well at least the person running there twitter account isn’t posting in all caps like they use to sometime back.

  2. No surprise. That station has fallen so fast and they are using every gimmick in the book to get back their long term viewers who had enough of their hiring people just to save money you can’t watch. I
    watched for 30 years and would never view again especially those “Misfits in the Morning” they are trying to call a news show. Ugh!

  3. Shameful. I was one of those who apparently was temporarily “followed.” Having once worked for the station, I find it embarrassing and hope that CEO Warren Buffet will eliminate such shenanigans. They don’t jibe either with his business practices or those of his friend, the late Katharine Graham, who named the station for her husband, Phil, when she bought it for the Washington Post Company in 1969. Meanwhile, I’ve done the only logical thing – I’ve unfollowed them. And I’ll mention it in my Twitter feed.

  4. The production quality over at 10 has suffered badly since they have decided to hire nothing but minorities to save money and threw quality out the window. They just don’t care. Constance Jones comes on the air with stringy matted hair which would never of happened just 5 short years ago. It is insulting to the viewer that their on air personalities don’t care about their appearance. They replace experinced Roland Steadem with that ditz Jennifer who proceeds to wear mini dresses on the air when she has legs like an NFL fullback. No one, I mean no one, can fiigure that terrible hiring out. Can’t wait for their next self distructive move. WB WAKE UP!

  5. They may not be the only ones. WFOR may have been doing the same thing: I gained, then lost, anchor Walter Makaula as a follower, too.

  6. Well, I don’t know if they are trying to save face or if this is the real scoop, but: Just now Local 10 morning news just reporrted a story about fake Twitter followers. At the end of the story, the morning anchors said that the reporter did it for Local 10 (“for the story”). Well, what do you all think?

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