Twitter: How to get 1,184 followers in 3 weeks (the story of @fakr)

Alright, its time to do the obligatory post on twitter. You all know I've been busy lately and have commented a lot about how much time I've wasted on seeking worthless internet fame.

Well almost all that time went to Fake Kevin Rose, or @fakr. A personality I managed to build from new to over a thousand followers in about 3 weeks. I don't know why I decided to pass on the information that made my life so boring but here it is.

Keep in mind that this method is nearly flawless in terms of the sheer numbers you'll gain, but depressing in terms of building followers who actually care about anything you have to say. That is to say, it works, but it's basically just twitter spam, and I don't endorse it - hence giving up my account.

That said lets dive in.

1. Pick a web celebrity to impersonate (optional)
This is what I started with but certainly not where you have to start. If you choose Fake Steve Jobs you're likely to have some people fascinated with the moron that would be willing to impersonate Steve Jobs - and then even more fascinated because Fake Steve is already on twitter.

The following steps will work to build a following for yourself no matter who you choose to be on twitter - even if that's yourself. And even if yourself means @Bad_Acne_Dude.

2. Hit Twitterholic
You need to look anywhere where you can find a list of tweeple with their number of folks they follow and how many followers they have. If you can discern these two numbers you can have a pretty good idea of who follows back all those who follow them. For example, on Twitterholic's list of people with the top followers (they have 1000) you see that @BarackObamahas (at the time of writing) 352,917 followers and 335,585 friends. This means he follows almost the same amount of people who follow him.

This gives you a pretty good idea that if you follow him he has some sort of mechanism in place to auto follow you back, and within just a few days he'll be following. I blame this on SocialToo - which makes this possible, but really their service is just good PR and people who follow those using it like I did are basically turning it into spam fuel. Now if you could find an exhaustive list of people who use SocialToo (which allows autofollowing of followers) then you would pretty much hit a gold mine by just following everyone on it.

Twitterholic is just one site of many that does this, but if you sort through the top 1000 people on there and follow every single person who has about as many followers as they have friends, you'll have 700 followers in no time. And then if you find other sites with the same sort of thing it'll only help. With this method you'll have close to an 80% follow back rate.

3. Follow Active People - they're likely to follow back
If you're looking for a quick way to follow boatloads of people look no further than the real Kevin Rose (@kevinrose). He has about 20 new followers/minute at least. If you go to his twitter page and then click followers you'll have a list of the most recent people to follow him. Twitter has made it easy to click follow, follow, follow, follow, etc... 10 pages in and you've followed 200 people. I would argue you'll get close to a 40% follow back rate - still impressive by twitter means.

4. You've hit twitter follow limits, now what?
So you're following 2,000 people and an email to support does you no good. Good. They know you're a spammer. But...

This is where the twitter API comes in handy. People have created a slew of programs to help you manage your account. The one I found most useful is Twitter Karma. Punch in your name and you instantly have at your fingertips the option to unfollow every single person who chose not to follow you back. Then head back to step 2 and repeat.

I would like restate the beginning of this article where I mentioned that I did this with @fakr, which has since been passed off to someone else because of the absurd amount of time I spent on it. I would like to remind you that just because you have 1,000+ twitter followers doesn't mean anyone actually likes you, wants to kiss you, or even go to Burger King with you.

Finally, I would like to state that if you're interested in this method then you need to get down on it because who knows how long it will be until twitter makes it even more difficult than it is.

And finally finally. I assume at least someone will leave a hateful comment about how spammesque this is. You're right, it is spammy. But if you call it spam and then go off and do it yourself you're just being hypocritical. So think twice before you blast.

In the meantime, I maintain my embarrassing 160 followers at @rogermugs, 5% of whom actually read my tweets.