The "lists" feature Twitter just rolled out has been swiftly repurposed by the celebrity-industrial complex to pump up the accounts of tweeters like Ellen DeGeneres. Lists show celebrities exactly who can send them followers. And thus who to spam.
Earlier today, a large number of hard-core Twitter dorks — sorry, "influencers!" — noticed DeGeneres was following their accounts. Many were flattered, followed back and tweeted about it. "I am looking fwd to being a guest... now that she is following me," one wrote. But DeGeneres wasn't making friends; she was on a rampage. Near the start of the spamming, she was following 6,100, according to the notification one influencer received after DeGeneres followed him (see below, with the name changed). Within a couple of hours, she was up to nearly 6,700.
How did DeGeneres suddenly find 600 geeks to follow? Closely-watched Silicon Valley blogger and marketing specialist Louis Gray figured out the answer: Lists. Of the many lists already out there, the most popular include several lists of "influencers" and "thought leaders" and so forth. In other words: A celebrity twitterer's social media "consultant's" dream, and an effective way to load up on followers without following just anyone. DeGeneres' need friends just happen to line up with those on the top lists. Go figure!
It's one thing for everyone to be famous for 15 minutes. But it's starting to look like everyone will be a fame broker for a period, too, on the internet. Maybe channeling fame will pay better than obtaining it.