It’s the new reality we live in – the number of Twitter followers someone has can be as artificial as a private soiree with Elaine Benes.
Thankfully, the folks at statuspeople.com have concocted a way to separate the frauds from the legitimate followers. Using advanced theoretical algorithms that only David Lightman might understand, they can generate a “Faker Score” for any Twitter account. This faker score will tell you the percentage of fake followers, inactive users and “good” accounts which follow a Twitter feed.
Using this method, I decided to examine all 30 MLB teams to find out which ones have the most fake followers.
Far and away, the team with highest percentage of fake followers is the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to status people, 29% of the Dodgers more than 185,000 Twitter followers are fake accounts. Another 36% are inactive accounts. This equates to the Dodgers having about 64,000 real Twitter followers.
The Mariners are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Only 8% of their followers are fake accounts, but when you factor in their 39% of inactive followers, their true twitter audience falls to 36,000. The Astros (22,000) have the fewest active followers.
The Phillies have the most Twitter followers – 709,000 (or about 7,000 more than the team with the second most, the Yankees). But this number represents almost double their actual reach. 52% of their followers belong to accounts dubbed to be fake or inactive. Their true reach is just shy of 370,000 people. This revised number still puts them well ahead of the Yankees. In fact when you subtract the Yankees 14% of fake followers and their 42% of inactive followers, they are left with 309,000 followers or about 50,000 fewer than their opponents from the 2009 World Series.
Last year’s World Series Champion, the St. Louis Cardinals, have 88,000 legitimate followers or just over half their listed total.
The Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves have the highest percentage of real followers – 58%.
Of the New York Mets 125,000 followers, only a third of them are real. That is by far the lowest percentage among the 30 teams and leaves them with only 41,484 followers (a total that is below small-market teams like the Indians and the Brewers).
The amount of fake and inactive accounts is remarkably similar across most of baseball. Twenty-seven of the 30 teams have between 8% and 14% fake followers. The Dodgers’ 29% stands out like Vin Scully at a swingers club and prompts some very legitimate questions about how this outlier came to be.
The league averages are:
- 11.7% fake
- 38.4% inactive
- 49.9% real
The official MLB Twitter account is a different story.
According to the Status People faker score, @mlb’s Twitter followers consist of 31% fake accounts, 43% inactive accounts and 26% good accounts. This reduces their follower count from 2.2 million to 627,000 and means they have nearly a quarter of a million fake followers. When we strip away the fake and inactive accounts from all the teams we go from having nearly half the league (14 teams) being able to claim more than 100,000 followers, to only six (Atlanta, Boston, New York AL, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Texas).
Here are the results of an analysis run on every MLB team’s Twitter followers:
Please note: Twitter follower totals are always changing. The above follower counts are accurate as of September first, 2012.
*The Pirates faker score has a strange hiccup in it. For some reason it comes up as 100% fake. Yes, they’re the Pirates, and we can joke about their two decades of losing seasons, but that percentage is obviously inaccurate. Check it out for yourself at Status People’s website.