We were wondering how Kevin Rudd had managed to gather over 100,000 new Twitter followers in under 10 days. It was a bit of a mystery because as you can see, on the 6th of July something strange happened following a very consistent pattern of Twitter growth for a user. In fact the pattern below is something normally associated with people who are manipulating their follower count (see this article).
Where did they all come from?
So what happened? The answer is actually quite simple. Twitter just added the @kevinRuddpm and @kyleandjackieo accounts to be amongst the exclusive 241 twitter accounts in the world that are “recommended”. See this article on “Who Twitter Loves the Most”. Anyone new to Twitter will potentially be given Rudders account as a suggested account. It’s free and very valuable promotion for him.
Here’s an article on what getting on this list means (here) – and it is controversial, many have remarked that the spots are unfair. Jason Calicanis offered to pay $250,000 (here) to be on the list citing the spot as the next “superbowl ad”.
One might argue Twitter has provided Rudders an unfair advantage for any future elections, but hey… that’s a story for someone else to take up!
Update: Julian Cole pointed out to me via Twitter that this may also seems explain why http://twitter.com/kyleandjackieo had a massive leap during the same period. This would debunk the SMH article claiming Kyle and Jackie O have been buying followers: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/kyle-and-jackie-o-accused-of-faking-followers-on-twitter-20090707-dbie.html
Posted by @eunmac