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Are You Bot or Not?

Posted by TestOut Staff on

The number of followers that a person has on Twitter is widely seen as being a measure of the number of followers that a person has on Twitter. It's true that people impute value of varying degrees and types to the number of mostly anonymous, largely faceless people who are represented by that 101M (if you're Barack Obama), or 4.84M (if you're Stephen King), or 11K (if you're some rando who goes by "@TestOutCE" — weird, huh?), or whatever it is.

 Where did everybody go?

Yet what does any of us, person or corporation, really get out of the number on that Twitter bar? "Exposure," maybe, if you actually believe that every individual follower checks faithfully, hour after hour, to see what you said, or who you retweeted. "Connection," perhaps, if knowing that hundreds of people you've never met (and, let's face it, almost certainly never will meet) added you to their feed once, possibly for no other reason than the vain hope of a "follow back."

This is today's "weird thing we're thinking about" (tomorrow it might be Bruce Greenwood, or possibly the not-endangered habitat of the yellow-bellied sapsucker) because a lot of people lost some followers on Thursday when the Twitter police cleaned out acres of digital dead wood by zotzing a bunch of bot accounts. The bot-zotzing resulted in a flurry of news articles comparing famous people and entities and noting who did (or didn't) lose followers.

Guess what? Not only does no one care, but it doesn't really even matter. Because everyone is using Snapchat and Instagram now? No. Because there are more important things in life to measure your self-worth by than whether many, or just a few strangers may have glimpsed random snippets of your daily doings. Take getting a certification. A certification shows that you not only invested time, effort, and emotion into making yourself a better you, but that it worked.

A certification shows that you learned something. It's an indicator of real-world skills that can help you interface with technology, whether simply to better your digital surroundings and enhance your comprehension of the increasingly electronic environment we all share, or to get a job and build a career. It doesn't materially enrich your life to be more (or less) popular with a flock of strangers. Certification makes you stronger, smarter, and more capable.

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