Saturday, September 27, 2014

Meeting Chicks on Twitter

My job requires considerable outreach to the public and so, a decade into the 21st century, I attended a seminar on social media. One of the take-aways was, register your preferred Twitter name now, even if you don't intend to use it immediately. You don't want, we were told, to be like those companies that thought the Internet was a novelty and later discovered someone else had snatched up their domain name.

Do not follow us on Twitter, but don't hesitate to follow us on Baseball Byways. We've gone from one follower, to eight followers, to the current nine.

Following this advice, Melvin and I have had but not used @BaseballByways. Despite not composing a single tweet, we managed over the three years since to acquire five followers ... all of the female persuasion.

The first two were apparently sex workers, or scammers presenting themselves as such. Their profile photos displayed an attractive young woman in lingerie and their tweets were sexual provocations. Those accounts were short-lived, becoming inactive within days of the alert announcing @BaseballByways had a new follower.

Then came The Roadtripettes, "Ladies who love the open road!" They may love to travel but Amanda B and her friend were less enthusiastic about blogging; "Life is a Highway" lasted less than a month. (I may have written more posts just on the topic of how unrequited I am by the endeavor.)

The Roadtripettes on the Skyline Drive.

At present the gals have 35 followers and are following 167 Twitter feeds, including @BaseballByways. I'm not sure how they found us but it appears The Roadtripettes are fond of byways of all denominations.

Come on, San Antonio! Get with the nomencalture!

Which brings me to Adelind Showler, who started following us on August 16. I love her profile photograph! It is, for me, evocative of Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills series. Sincere or contrived or some blend of the two, the stylization is perfect, right down to the backdrop. Can you be demure when your leather(ette) bikini bottom is hitched down?

"I want sweet text messages," Ms. Showler's profile declared.

Ms. Showler (if there actually is a person by that name) created her account in late-May and a month later started following other twitterers and accruing followers. Plotted against each other, the daily ratio of accounts followed to followers grew at almost the same exact rate before flatlining in late-July, at 1,041 and 142 respectively*. @AdelindShowler was suspended a couple weeks ago.

After following 84 people on the first two days, Adelind added exactly 33 more accounts every day until she stopped. Twitter monitors how aggressively (their word) a user adds followers. Do sophisticated users know what number triggers scrutiny, like the $10,000 FinCEN cap on financial transactions?

I wish I made a record of Ms. Showler's tweets. Many seemed addressed to someone who was or might become untrue. Collectively they expressed a school girl mix of optimism and insecurity, bravado and vulnerability, wonder and confusion. Every few days she would retweet a beauty or fitness tip.

I found it hard to reconcile Adelind's sentiments with her picture. Since our first two followers were apparently (caveat above) sex workers, I wondered if this account was just a more sophisticated gambit.

Consider this scenario: A sex worker (standard caveat) creates an account and lays low for a while. S/he then starts steadily following people, folks like guys who like baseball, who are (depending on their account settings) alerted that they have a new follower ... a new follower who looks like a showgirl, backstage.

In 140 characters or less per message, s/he authors an approachable persona to go with her sultry profile picture. If you follow him or her reciprocally, you will be able to direct message each other. Her profile explicitly invites your contact. Just imagine where that conversation might go. Maybe that is the whole point.

Or, perhaps I have interpreted this all wrong. Just a fantastic projection of my middle-aged mind. If I have unfairly cast aspersions upon a sweet young thing from the South Carolina Upcountry, I apologize. The Roadtripettes are probably more my speed anyway.

*All metrics per Twitter Counter.

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