(Talksauce is a weekly editorial that represents the opinions of Tapsauce editor-in-chief Jacob Hall, not Rocksauce Studios. If he says something stupid, blame him and him alone.)
I’m not going to tell you who I plan to vote for this November and I’m not going to make any wild and crazy accusations. I simply want to take a step back, take a look at how President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are incorporating social media into their campaigns and possibly do a little finger wagging and head shaking. There’s one basic rule that everyone running for political office should know: the internet, as a whole, does not like fakes.
Granted, the entire country doesn’t like fakes, but this is doubly true on the internet, where infinite knowledge is always a few seconds away. Although we often pay too much attention to the stupid YouTube comments, the core of the internet is populated by whip-smart people, professionals and intellectuals who avoid the comments sections and gravitate toward various other communities. Like some kind of illuminati, it is these communities that are able to sway internet public opinion. These are smart people who don’t believe what they see on TV and actually read and research before they say something. The normal political BS doesn’t work on this crowd and if you piss them off, expect to see the rest of the internet follow suit (the hacker group Anonymous is this mentality taken to the most extreme lengths).
This brings us to Twitter, a place where your place in the food chain is decided by how many people follow you. At the time of this writing, President Obama has over 18 million followers and Romney has 864,000. However, Romney used to have significantly fewer followers and when 100,000 people followed him in one weekend, he was accused of buying fake Twitter followers to boost his numbers. Before the other side could have the last laugh, it was recently revealed that the President may have more fake followers than his opponent. Although no one has directly accused Obama of buying followers, let’s get real here: of course he has. Both of them know how important it is in the eyes of the internet to have a strong Twitter following and both have surely broken into their campaign funds to strengthen their numbers.
The truth is that every Twitter user has fake followers. Spambots are one of the network’s few real downsides (besides decreasing productivity at work by a significant margin) and you’re bound to have a few following you if you have 100 followers, so imagine how many of them must be following Lady Gaga (28 million followers). We know that Obama and Romney have fake followers because we have them, too. That can’t be avoided. However, knowing that they can buy fake followers and probably have is infuriating. I could make some sort of grand statement about how buying Twitter followers makes you look petty and unfit to run a nation fo 300 million people, but the truth is much simpler than that: it makes you look lame.
Look, many of the most popular people on Twitter are regular folks who gained thousands of followers by being funny, talented or just plain interesting. Twitter, and the internet in general, is something of an equalizer; behind a mouse and a keyboard, everyone is reduced to simply be a human being. Your internet presence is what you make of it. By buying Twitter followers, a politician isn’t being honest with himself, his supporters and everyone else on the internet. He’s posing. He’s misrepresenting himself. He’s being that guy on Reddit who posts a fake story designed to elicit sympathy and gain upvotes. The internet cannot and will no tolerate a liar, especially a liar who buys something that so many other “regular” people have actually earned.
So, President Obama and Mr. Romney: don’t buy Twitter followers. You’re embarrassing yourselves.