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Did the Red Dirt Report buy some Twitter followers?

reddirt report

It looks like there's some controversy in the OKC online news world!

Last week, Andrew Rice's hipstery new online start-up "Non Doc" released a four-part series that takes a look at the social media numbers of all local media outlets. In the series we learned... well, I'm not really sure what we learned. It's basically a bunch of numbers and stats listed without any context or analysis.

Today, however, Non Doc released a follow-up with a shocking allegation. It looks like Ed Shadid's favorite site, the libertarian-leaning, tinfoil hat-wearing Red Dirt Report may have pulled an Abigail Ogle and purchased Twitter followers! How embarrassing! Buying Twitter followers is the online equivalent of getting caught lying on your resume, using shoe lifts, or purchasing $10 worth of gems in Clash of Clans! Don't do it! It's a mistake!

To confirm the Non Doc report, I ran a follower report through Twitter Counter. It shows how many Twitter followers an account accrues over a certain period Here's one for us that covers the last three years:

twtter graph TLO

See, that's a nice, even, consistent growth. We don't have any big jumps or spikes. On the other hand, check out the Twitter growth of Red Dirt Report:

red dirt report

Yep, it seems pretty damn obvious. In what can be construed as an effort to make the site look more popular and relevant than it actually is, The Red Dirt Report's owners committed the online sin of buying followers. Or did they?

Let's be honest, this is The Red Dirt Report we're talking about. I'm pretty sure the site is endorsed by Mel Gibson's character from Conspiracy Theory. The Twitter spike could be due to a government conspiracy, fluoride in our drinking water, chemtrails, aliens or even Mick Cornett. Nobody but the owner of Red Dirt Report knows for sure.

And if they did buy followers, so what? It makes a funny joke and nice jab, but it's still a good site to read from time to time. They're just misrepresenting themselves on social media. It's not a big deal. Just look at any Facebook or Twitter profile pic. Everyone does it.

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