Noah J Nelson on Monday, Nov. 25th
Twitter’s recent Initial Public Offering on Wall Street has brought a level of journalistic curiosity to the social media company’s seamier side.
This weekend and article in the Wall Street Journal took a look at the gray market bot trade: Twitter accounts that are spun up to give unknowns with a bit of cash the appearance of having an actual following. This kind of activity isn’t limited to Twitter–there are services that purport to boost actor’s rankings on IMDB, for instance–but the social media network is the most visible version of these kinds of shenanigans.
The Wire’s hi lip Bump riffs on the WSJ article by comparing the bots and advertising accounts to Weird Twitter, that mash-up of machine speak and performance art that appeals to those with a surreal sense of humor. Viewed from a purely pragmatic standpoint Twitter is one of the stranger things that the people of the Internet indulge in, and Weird Twitter embodies this.
If reading about Twitter is really your thing, feel free to get lost in Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic’s latest magnum opus: “Why Did 9,000 Porny Spambots Descend on This San Diego High Schooler?” which dives into the world of spambots.