Thursday, January 27, 2011

Banned!!! By The Twitter Twerps!

Some developments in the drama behind my LVW column on the Twitter Twerps, brothers Chris Rauschnot and Bill Cody. First of all, I've been banned by them!

Awesome! I had gone to see if they'd remarked on the column and found I was no longer following them. So I tried -- knowing full well what would happen -- to follow them again and voila! Blocked!

I guess they don't care for or appreciate all that I do for the city, venues, etc. (Inside joke, read the column to understand.)

Meanwhile, there's more proof that they are utterly ineffective as social media influencers. I went back to see something about my original Aug. 18 column on them only to see that just five Facebook people recommended that piece. Bill and Chris had flogged the hell out of that piece, so you would think that maybe more than a measly five of their apparent 50,000 followers on Twitter would have done so, no? (Let's just assume for argument's sake that they don't account for 2 of the 5, or 40%).

Meanwhile, the current column has only been up for a day and already there's 59 Facebook "recommends." They clearly DO get a social media response, but it's not the sort anyone would actually want, is it?

More to come, folks. I've just found a new, meaty bone to gnaw at and I'm getting information from all over the place about these guys.

P.S. Look who else I'm honored to be blocked from following:


Anonymous said...

Since you've taken these two to task, would you be willing disclose your standards for what is acceptable and what is not?

Do you ever accept free stays at hotels, such as for your Cosmo review? Free meals at restaurants you're reviewing, or take free tickets to shows, even ones you've seen previously? If you do accept them, do you have to declare such things with the IRS, since gifts are often taxable?

I'd hope the answer to all of those is no, but I've always been somewhat curious as to what's considered taboo and what isn't among the New Media set. I think most of us already know quite well what the old school media's thoughts are on accepting such swag.

This is not meant as a loaded question in any way; I (and I suspect other readers) would like to know where you stand on such things.

JeffW said...


The only fools are the ones who come through with free-stuff for those guys. All they're doing is asking, eh? Oh, and threatening to expose the ones who say no - whoopee.

Are they bad for social media? I say no.

This is a new world for certain, and folks who want to be covered in a professional manner need to be more diligent in checking backgrounds of the 'new media'.

Alas, this may make your job harder.


Anon: The rules are to disclose. If I haven't disclosed, there's nothing to disclose. I get paid pretty well for the work I do and consider a lot of out-of-pocket expenses part of the cost of doing business. Show tickets are more complex; even the New York Times allows its critics to accept free show tickets. And I have seen some shows many times, but generally that's because there is something new or different I am looking for. If I'm writing about or interviewing a particular performer, for instance, I like to focus on their performance in a way that I hadn't previously. That said, my credibility is in the work itself and I've never been uncomfortable being honest about my reaction. I lost an interview with Mike Nichols, for instance, because I told the Spamalot publicist when he asked that it "wasn't my thing." That happens, but he asked and I try my best not to lie.

For what it's worth, it's also not that I am casting aspersions on journalists who take comps. I'm casting aspersions on people who pretend be journalists to get comps. There may seem to be a minor distinction there, but I believe totally that writers who take some forms of comps can still be objective and fair and, in fact, their credibility relies upon it.

Anonymous said...

Steve -- appreciate the response, and I totally get the distinction you made in your last paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I published this on the other article and wanted to here as well.. just wanted to add some points from someone in the industry ..

First.. in social media -- common sense will tell you that getting 50k followers is not just hard work it requires some real level of celebrity (or infamy) (or 20 years ;)) - not local Vegas celebrity (Paula Francis of Channel 8 has 2k followers) and not even national celebrity (most anchors at CNN don't enjoy over 10 or even 20k followers), but real honest to god celebrity.

Now if you are A list you can accumulate 100's of thousands of followers - even a million or more, but when even Reuters news comes in at 22k and YahooNews at 60k then you have to ask is it logical that two guys in Vegas had 50k followers - and the answer is probably not.

And even though I hate to jump on any hating band wagons (no matter how honestly deserved), I think people need to understand how this works.. so if you go back through the history of the accounts you can see (and I only an revealing this so anyone who reads this KNOWS TO DO THIS when vetting a so called social media "expert") that they added at two different points approx 20k followers in a month (data could be a little off as it is not in front of me, but this is about the #) or so and around 15k in another small time span with other unnatural jumps in between. Ask yourself? What would cause 20k or even 5k people to suddenly find these two people in Vegas and start following them in that short of a time?

So how did it happen? You can do this with a few different methods, there are bots or networks of paid people, but either way they are not real. So any time you see someone with a large following you should check and see if it makes sense. Find their history (there are many tools to do this) and see is the add curve natural or not and if not is there a reason why? Were they suddenly a big front page news story - ok that makes sense. Were they one of a thousand other people talking about Vegas - hmm probably not.

And a last note.. to wrap it up ... all the tweeting, retweeting, private dming and following/unfollowing was to increase their Klout scores, so that anyone who checked them through this tool would think they had real value. Unfortunately, all this could have been resolved with some due diligence.. How a about a check of their LinkedIn resume and some calls to their real business network or heck even Google them. Because if you Google me you can see all my professional credentials, but casinos did not do that and that is on them and Las Vegas Weekly.

The world of legitimate professional social media people with proven track records is a very small one - we usually know each other. So even though the media is new, the method to find a legitimate one is not - Just go to LinkedIn, find one with good references and start there next time. You will get a lot more bang for your buck.

Final Note - All studies show it does not matter how large the following is - Good ROI comes from the level of engagement and interest - not the follower count.

Thank you for reading.

Mychal said...

Norm Clarke tweeted your link about this story this evening. Very interesting how it all unfolded. I respect your ethical style of journalism and you have earned a new reader and Twitter follower. I'm off to explore your site and check out your podcast. I've heard Tim Dressen refer to it (and you) on FiveHundyByMidnight.

Anonymous said...

Getting free stuff because you have twitter followers isn't the real problem with the Twerps.

Maybe it's them thinking being a journalist is as easy as just declaring it.

Maybe it's how they got their followers. Or the quality of their followers.

Maybe it's them bullying vegas properties in giving them free stuff.

Maybe it's them retweeting each other and retweets of retweets. (One of their nicknames is "Tweet & Retweet")

Maybe it's them sending nasty emails trying to get people fired because they where called out.

Maybe it's them posing with people and implying they are best of friends.

Maybe it's them going to events and then implying that the whole event was put on for them.

Maybe it's overhearing "Mom, don't take a picture of them, they are not important"

It's just that they are not good people. Next time you come across them, go up and say 'Hi.' If they don't think they will get anything out of you, they will rudely move on and try to get their next meal ticket elsewhere. The thing with Social Media is, you can't hide how much of a douche you are for very long.