Twiends. It’s a popular and generally well regarded site for people who want to gain Twitter followers fast. It’s free, and it’s easy to use. But does it work? Well, yes and no. Yes in that it will get you followers without any doubt whatsoever. But no in that the followers you do get will not be worth having.
Twiends is useful for one basic thing: impression. The followers you gain from Twiends will help you to create an impression of popularity – or will at least prevent you from looking like a hopeless case after a fresh start. But if you try to rely purely on Twiends to build a useful Twitter account, you’ll get nowhere.
HOW TWIENDS WORKS
UPDATE: May 2015 - Twiends no longer uses Seeds. A full explanation of the new system can be found in Has The New Connections System Improved Twiends? For historical reasons, I have, however, left the rest of this article as it was when written...
Twiends uses a points system to artificially induce following. These points are called Seeds. If you follow another user, you’ll get a number of Seeds, as designated by that user. You can then offer the Seeds you earn to other users, to entice them to follow you.
SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT THEN?
The first problem is evident as soon as you start inspecting the follow ratios of listed users. Everyone’s trying to play the same game. Namely, they want masses of people following them, but most don’t actually want to follow anyone in return. So Twiends is overrun to the point of near totality with people whose follower count dwarfs their friend count. What does this mean? Well, it pretty obviously means they don’t follow back, but more importantly, it also almost inevitably means they unfollow pretty heavily too.
In practice, I’ve found that very, very few of the accounts you follow on Twiends will follow you back, but if they follow you first, the vast majority expect you to follow them back. Most of the follows you get from Twiends will therefore be TEMPORARY unless you reciprocate.
Of course, you’re getting Seeds for following people on Twiends, and someone is then coming along and following you in return for those Seeds, which is fine. But if the follows you’re getting are only temporary unless you follow back, then you’re often having to follow TWO people in order to gain one permanent follower – one to get the Seeds, and the other to prevent the taker of those Seeds from unfollowing you at some point in the near future. And indeed even if you do follow back, there’s STILL no guarantee of permanence. The economy of that speaks for itself.
The result, over time, is a natural tendency towards loss rather than gain. Add to the above the fact that Twiends is really a ‘middleman’, and that middlemen take commission, and you have a system which, long term, is actually worse than just following directly on Twitter.
The Seeds Twiends owns and gives out to paying customers don’t just come from nowhere. They have to be taken out of the system, and it’s the free users who lose the Seeds Twiends takes. You can quickly pick up a lot of followers straight after joining Twiends. But very soon things slow down, and the natural drain on Seeds catches up with you. The inevitable result is that YOU are then sucked into a regime of calculated unfollowing. It’s the only way to prevent your follow ratio spiralling out of control.
Also, because Twiends deducts Seeds from your account when you ‘unfollow back’ too quickly, you’re constantly having to monitor who you followed through Twiends (as opposed to directly on Twitter), and when it was you followed them, etc. It rapidly becomes complicated. The only way to make easy work of it is to pay, and for the reasons outlined below, that would be a very stupid thing to do.
IT GETS WORSE
Here’s the bottom line… TWIENDS USERS WILL NEVER READ YOUR TWEETS, OR LOOK AT YOUR HOMEPAGE ON TWITTER. They’re mostly real people, but they might as well be bots for all the notice they take. You’re just a button click that gets them the Seeds they need, and once they’ve clicked your Follow button, the only time they’ll ever take notice of you in future is when you come up in their ‘unfollow suggestions’ on Tweepi, Unfollowers.com, Manage Flitter, or whichever other cleanup tool they’re using. At that point, if you’re not following them (and sometimes even if you are), you’ll become another button click. This time, the Unfollow button.
I’ve experimented with using Twiends as a sole method of building a follower-base, and nothing I’ve tweeted on a Twiends-only account ever gets any reaction – even over the course of months. No Replies, no Retweets, no Favorites – nothing. Conversely, other methods I’ve used to gain followers have resulted in immediate interactivity. Multiple Replies, RTs and Favs, within a day.
The big difference with following on Twitter as opposed to Twiends is that when you follow someone, there’s a strong chance they’ll have a look at your account and check you out. That’s because they don’t know why you’ve followed them. There’s no inducement involved, so they’re interested to see if you have similar interests and share common ground. If they like what they see, some will interact. That’s a fact. But if you follow via Twiends, other users know you’re only doing it for the Seeds, and they therefore don’t feel the same impetus to check you out. It’s in any case often true that people using Twiends are getting so many follows in a very short space of time, that the whole thing is just a blur. They won’t even look at individual new followers. The result is a very sterlie and mechanical process of rapid button clicks, but zero engagement.
Twiends users are also highly indiscriminate in their following. I’ve tested Twiends with multiple Twitter accounts, and invariably, when a user follows one of your accounts, they follow them all – regardless of the fact that each account has a different topic and/or style. In the end, you become as desensitised to it all as them. You come to see everything as a button click and a number. That’s unhealthy.
The fundamental problem creating this unnatural scenario on Twiends, is that if someone builds a resource for people whose sole aim is to get followers, then those are the only people who are going to use it. No one’s going to use it to find accounts to actually read or interact with, because Twitter does that better, and Google does it better still. So you’re left on Twiends with people who don’t want to know you, don’t care whether or not you exist, and have only ever followed you because you were offering them the means to bag another follower for themselves.
You can even see after a bit of experience when someone is going to unfollow you within a few minutes (or seconds) on Twiends. You know they’re mass following/unfollowing, you know as soon as they take your Seeds that they’re turning you over, and you know if you look at your followers again in five minutes’ time they’ll be gone. You may be able to find the offender on Twiends, follow them and get some of, if not all your Seeds back, but then you have to monitor when you followed them and wait until it’s safe to unfollow before doing so. Otherwise, Twiends will dock YOU the Seeds for unfollowing too quickly – even though it was YOU who got ripped off.
Many of the people playing these hit and run games are using illegitimate methods to cheat the Twiends system and they know how to avoid unfollow penalties. And even if they do get penalised, that doesn’t help you, unless you’re paying for VIP status. Instant droppers can come in waves or spates on Twiends. You can have 40 or 50 Seeds go straight down the toilet in minutes, and if you’re playing the game legitimately, that’s a lot to lose to cheats.
Paying money to gain followers of the type you’ll find on Twiends is a dire waste. And even though Twiends puts in place safeguards for paying customers to try and ensure that rapid unfollows are compensated with the return of Seeds, the protections don’t apply indefinitely. If two weeks down the line people get fed up with seeing a VIP customer’s smug face and self-important pontification on their timeline, then he or she will naturally get unfollowed, and there’s no compensation for that. Not only are you paying for followers who aren’t listening, you’re STILL having to follow back if you want to ensure they won’t unfollow you.
As I’ve said on this blog before, NEVER, EVER, EVER pay for Twitter followers. You’d get better value flushing your money down the toilet.
Twiends comes across as a very well behaved site. It doesn’t auto-post Tweets if you don’t want it to, and whilst some of the ways in which it acquires Seeds from you are a bit shifty (like how it takes one Seed in ‘commission’ when you use the Followback function but doesn’t tell you), it’s not really a site which provokes a strong sense of mistrust.
However, the privacy is not all it should be. When I’m told I’m deleting an account, I expect the account to be deleted. But try deleting a Twiends account, and then setting up a new one for the same Twitter, and you’ll find the site has remembered all your information. In other words, it doesn’t delete the account. It just tells you it does, and makes it private until you log back in. And of course, if Twiends is misleading users regarding account deletion, you have to budget for the fact that it’s misleading users in a number of other ways.
Twiends is really an illusion. What it does is gives you a means to acquire temporary followers, which you can, in many instances, make permanent by following them back. But because the points system encourages users to follow accounts they don’t want to follow, it ultimately also encourages a high level of unfollowing. The average Twiends user is an image-obsessed ego-tripper, whose follower count takes precedence over all else. And because a considerable proportion of users are novices, kids, cheats, idiot new ‘buisnesses’ who think they can engineer a 5,000 to 0 follower ratio in a day or whatever, the incidence of exceptionally short-term logic is high.
Many users see Twiends as a licence to follow hundreds of accounts, net hundreds of followers for themselves, and then literally unfollow everyone within minutes or even seconds. They don’t realise that they’re not the only ones to have thought of that, and in anything but the immediate term it doesn’t work. But that doesn’t help you when they’re stealing Seeds you’ve had to follow others to get, and basically leaving you following people you don’t really want to follow, without any compensation for doing so.
Provided you don’t mind the dubious privacy implications, Twiends is a good way to kick start a new Twitter account. Take great care with the settings and ensure you minimise the number of cheats and morons who are allowed to follow you. Limit the eligible countries to those which speak your language(s) (because people who can’t read what you’re saying are clearly a waste of Seeds), and block everyone who joined Twiends less than 48 hours ago. I’d also suggest blocking everyone who uses ‘curse’ words. Even if you yourself have no objection to swearing (and I don’t, within reason), you’ll keep out a hell of a lot of fly-by-night cretins if you block this category.
And then, once things begin to slow down, it’s time to go out into the real world and use Twitter in a meaningful way. Twiends will save the embarrassment of doing that without any initial followers, but if you really want to get noticed, I’d be very surprised if Twiends was of any help to you.