There are a lot of “Twitter follower” sites to build the number of tweeps you have following your Twitter account. Most work in roughly the same way: sign up, put in your Twitter info, and a large group of people are picked and added to your account and you are added to theirs. Simple, sure, but effective?
With the rise in popularity for Twitter comes the inevitable schemes, software robots, and other problems that go with that popularity. In fact, a daily crowd of new Twitter applications hits the Web, hoping to become the “next big thing.” Most are, as with any other social networking site, generally useless apps with limited appeal–assuming they aren’t just copy-cats of someone else’s app.
Discus.me is a little different. While it’s not likely the next end-all-be-all of Twitter apps, it is at least unique. It’s another “get massive followers” type of site, but it’s not along the usual vein of most follow apps.
Discus.me uses what they call a “Chain Membership system.” That’s a good way to describe how it works.
Once you sign up, you are put in as the first link in a “chain” of users. You’re linked to whomever signed up for Discus.me last and then new signups for the next week are all linked to you as well. So if Craig signs up on Day 1, he is linked to Herb who signed up on Day 0 automatically. Then when Aaron, Christen, and Jody sign up on Days 2, 3, and 4, they are automatically linked to Craig as well as each other.
The chain continues for seven days with every new signup on those days adding to the links. This can ad up fast, of course, especially once Discus.me gets popular.
To test how it works, I created a Twitter account for it called VODiscus. Through @VODiscus, I elected to sign up for the usual 10 random famous people Twitter tries to connect you with. Then I signed up with Discus.me and waited.
The account was created about a week ago. In that time, followers have increased to 40 and the account is now following 33 people (as of this writing).
Most of those were gained in the past weekend, at a rate of about 4-6 per day.
Obviously, at its current rate, Discus.me won’t flood your account with new followers and instantly make you into Ashton Kutcher. As the site becomes more popular, though, I could see this increasing quickly and making some real headway. Most of the new followers, if you look at the timeline, are real people making occasional “real” comments. Some are, of course, bots and others are nothing more than promotional tools.
Personally, I think I would say that Discus.me is just another scheme to build followers with little or no merit. So far, the only way I’ve seen Twitter followers becoming useful, engaging people for building networks and getting more site click-throughs from Twitter is by doing it the hard way. In other words, spending the time searching for those who have like-minded interests and following them (hoping for the follow back) and by networking through your current friends’ lists to find more friends.
Sites like Discus.me have their place, though, and some will definitely find this one to be useful. So far, the majority of those who followed the test account appear to be “real” Twitter users rather than just robots and spam accounts. So for now, it’s worth trying if you’re interested in new, random links through Twitter.