Ohio State coach Urban Meyer became the first college football coach with one million Twitter followers yesterday, a feat he and the university celebrated:
Shortly afterward Jim Harbaugh, coach of bitter rivals Michigan, joined him. But they, or somebody on their behalf, both faked their way to one million.
Sixteen months ago both coaches had around 270,000 followers, and as recently as a month ago, according to Twitter Counter, Meyer had 807,685, and Harbaugh had 797,068. But in the last month they’ve each gained about 200,000 followers, thousands each day. Between Sept. 13 and Oct. 3, for instance, Meyer somehow gained exactly 7,042 followers each day, while between Sept. 13 and Sept. 22, Harbaugh somehow gained exactly 5,582 followers each day.
According to Twitter Audit, just 41 percent of Meyer’s Twitter followers are real, and just 40 percent of Harbaugh’s Twitter followers are. If you want a good way to visualize this, just go look at the accounts following Harbaugh, for instance. It’s almost exclusively eggs all the way down:
Now, any popular Twitter account has numerous fake followers. Barack Obama has 37 million fake followers, though he also has 41 million real ones. And this doesn’t mean that Meyer or Harbaugh, or people on their behalf, bought the Twitter followers. It is incredibly easy, and incredibly cheap, to buy thousands of fake Twitter followers for anybody. But it is pretty funny that the battle between Michigan and Ohio State has continued off the field in just the dumbest place: Twitter.
Michigan told me that they haven’t purchased followers for any teams or coaches, while Ohio State didn’t immediately return a request for comment.