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Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web by Ashton Kutcher, Brian Solis

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Chapter 24. The Contrast between Earned and Paid: When Paying for Friends Makes Cents

Twitter and social networks in general are luring users into a Web of both interconnected and extended connections—forging potentially valuable relationships with the individuals whom we know and those whom we admire, respect, and one day hope to know.

The race to extend one's social graph across the statusphere is laying the groundwork for a more formidable platform to share one's thoughts, opinions, observations, messages, and agenda. This is as true for individuals as it is for marketers, sales organizations, and brands.

BUYING FOLLOWERS VERSUS EARNING FRIENDS

As Twitter's civilization personifies the natural tendency to extend the connections that strengthen the network, individuals also share the desire to participate in the expansion. As such, we, as a dedicated online society, grow in prominence.

As personalities, the path between where we are and where we would like to be is defined by our actions and the practices we embody. We have a choice to increase our congregation organically or through prescribed measures. Brands too, face the same crossroads.

Earning friends versus buying followers is a short cut that can quite possibly build stronger, vibrant, and targeted communities.

Yes, the thought of buying followers is questionable at best and, in most cases outside of social networking, it's easy to view it as corrupt.

We've witnessed the onslaught of packaged systems for increasing followers, ...

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