Despite the efforts of companies like Klout and Twitalyzer, the industry that’s appeared around “influence” measurement best resembles the early days of search engine optimization. It’s full of tricks, games, and shady third parties trying to game the system to make a quick buck. Anyone with a few hours to spare can create a Twitter bot that not only appears human, but that, according to the best tools we have right now, is a more influential entity than actual people.

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