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Photography By The Numbers, Twitter That

I Am Who I Am

Update: On Nov. 25th, 2013, we ran an updated status check on my Twitter account. The numbers reflected over 92,000 “good” or active followers out of a total of over 102,000 followers using the Status People Fake Checker tool. See photo below:

Twitter Verification of Rolando Gomez account

This is the update ran on Nov. 25, 2013 for the Twitter account “rolandogomez.”

Welcome to “Unfiltered,” the new category I’ve decided to add to, where you’ll get to know who am I, what makes me tick and quite possibly, what ticks me off? While I’m still going to post photography topics in the other categories, I’ve found out in almost 14 years of teaching photography workshops, speaking at national photography events and recent filming of an upcoming reality TV program I star in, people want to know about me. People also ask about my thoughts on certain subjects, so you’ll find that and more on Unfiltered with future blog posts.  You’ve been warned, sometimes this category might surprise you, but I’ll do my best to make it interesting.

One of the few celebrities that you will not find on social media outlets, Morgan Freeman.

I had the pleasure of meeting Morgan Freeman this past July. A great and sincere man who chooses not to participate on Twitter or Facebook.

Whether it’s about the 26 months I spent in Central and South America as an active-duty U.S. Army soldier documenting the drug war or spending time with past U.S. Presidents, people are often intrigued in my life stories. While you’ll get some of that in this category, my main goal is to truly tell it like it is—after all, I am who I am. So from soldiers to sex, brain stimulation topics will vary, but to help keep it more in tone with the original concept of this blog, I’ll include photos for visual inspiration. Bottom line, you’ll get the real me, sometimes slightly controversial, but what’s knew, everyone is facehooking nowadays with controversy and some call me a maverick at times—so welcome to my world.

Interesting people like Santa Claus, President, etc.

I”ve had the pleasure of meeting some interesting people and look forward in sharing some of their stories.

The only “PC” you’ll get from me is that I know how to use my personal computer, especially since today it’s socially accepted to speak your mind through Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Besides, I have no intention for running for public office, and that’s even a joke nowadays, looking more shameful than honorable. If I were to change my mind, weirder things have happened in politics, from strippers to wrestlers and even actors from other countries succeeding in local U.S. elections, but have no fear, that’s not on my radar screen.

Top Twitter followers of Rolando Gomez

It”s not only about the amount of followers, but the quality of followers. Here are a few of my Twitter followers.

Enuff said, let’s make this first blog post a little controversial—and please keep in mind, I didn’t start this controversy, I actually read about it in a recent New York Times article about how public figures, celebrities, musicians, politicians and other notables are “inflating” their Twitter numbers. I’m just shifting it to the photography community. It’s important to note, I’m not accusing anyone of inflating their Twitter numbers, but I do want to share the data I compiled concerning those in the photo industry that seem to have the most followers.

Besides, we live in a wired world where social measurement metrics come in various forms and continue to evolve, as did with the recent retooling of Klout, the industry standard “credit score” of social influence and engagement. While many marketing directors take Klout into account when it comes to sponsorship or support, the power perception plays casino spiele as a role in those decisions cannot be ignored, as these decisions often come from “numbers,” including the total Twitter followers an individual has in their social mix. It’s these “eyeballs” an individual or entity attracts that might lead a marketing director to seek an outlet for their perspective product representation.

Herein lies a problem for many in those positions of responsibility that make these decisions, can you believe everything you see on the Internet? Especially since anyone can purchase Twitter followers and automated “spam bot” accounts can follow users without their permission, thus adding to the fake percentage? I’m not making any accusations about anyone purchasing “fake” followers, as many people like celebrities and public figures rely on their publicists, public relations firms, etc., to get their brand seen and they themselves might lack awareness of what is really happening within their own social accounts.

So for the purpose of this article I used the “Fake Follower Check” tool outlined in the recent New York Times article, Buying Their Way to Twitter Fame.

It is a tool created by, a social media management company based in London, and these are the numbers it provided on Oct. 2, 2012, when my research began.  Perhaps with this article, those Twitter accounts that need tending should use this tool to monitor their accounts. Please note, Twitter is notorious for people signing up and then not coming back where the user becomes “Inactive,” so obviously the inactive percentages are probably higher for older twitter accounts.

Results from fake follower check of my account.

This is the results on my Twitter account from the tool by

The “fake” percentage is the term used by this tool and according to the founder of, Rob Waller, “Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers…we then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake.”  In fairness to all the accounts below, automated spam bots can increase the fake percentage and often follow popular Twitter accounts for spamming purposes. According to the Times article, “Having fake followers, it is important to note, does not necessarily mean that they were purchased. Unlike Facebook friends, Twitter does not require users to approve followers. In other words, anyone can follow you on Twitter, whether it’s your mother or a spammer.”

So here are some of the bigger names in the photo industry I chose based on “popularity,” or above average Twitter followers from an average person or company, through photography keyword searches. If the Fake Follower Check is accurate, these are the numbers, plus I’ve included the Klout score as a form of balance.

Individual Accounts Total Followers #Fake % In-active % Active % Effective Klout Score
@Terry_World* 244,500 6 35 59 144,255 82
@chasejarvis 165,664 21 36 43 71,235 79
@ScottBourne* 122,439 3 17 80 97,952 68
@JoeMcNallyPhoto 107,524 13 38 49 52,687 80
@rolandogomez* 96,027 0 19 81 77,782 79
@ScottKelby 83,325 6 23 71 59,161 80
@tylershields* 82,041 4 41 55 45,123 80
@strobist* 69,782 5 22 73 50,940 80
@jeremycowart* 61,274 3 17 80 49,019 78
@vincentlaforet* 47,570 3 16 81 38,532 79
@zarias 46,712 4 16 80 37,370 68
@annieleibovitz 41,017 5 30 65 26,661 N/A^
@TreyRatcliff 37,104 4 21 75 27,828 81
@thomashawk* 36,332 6 25 69 25,069 78
@photojack 35,712 1 9 90 32,141 60
@aphotoeditor 31,551 4 17 79 24,925 68
@ricksammon 22,489 3 18 79 17,766 70
Photo Websites Total Followers #Fake % In-active % Active % Effective Klout Score
@MagnumPhotos 471,173 16 36 48 226,163 83
@librarycongress* 424,827 22 46 32 135,945 81
@LightStalking 381,182 28 41 31 118,166 75
@AmazingPics 317,739 29 40 31 98,499 70
@photographytalk 304,013 63 24 13 39,522 62
@AhhPhotography 296,842 0 5 95 282,000 61
@nytimesphoto 278,617 18 44 38 105,874 69
@photojojo* 266,964 23 38 39 104,115 71
@latimesphotos 264,817 24 43 33 87,390 69
@str8photography 117,739 1 9 90 105,965 61
@petapixel 117,004 3 15 82 95,943 74
@digitalps 79,227 5 19 76 60,211 74

#Fake is the term used by the Twitter Tool
*Denotes Twitter “verified” accounts (blue checkmark symbol selectively issued by Twitter)
^Klout score not found.

Note: All data compiled on 10/02/2012. Data is subject to instant constant change due to the highly volatile follow/un-follow trends of Twitter. Effective Followers I computed by taking the Active percentage and multiplying by the total followers the account had during the compiling of the data. Klout scores update daily and are based primarily on social engagement of various social mediums including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Instagram, etc.

I’ll probably be criticized within the photo community for providing these numbers, but that’s just how I am, I say it like it is, that is the power of the PC. Feel free to use the link above and run the numbers to verify my data, though please keep in mind, the numbers change as people follow/un-follow on a continuum and automated bots plus users themselves can cause the data to flow in a positive or negative direction by the second. Also, all Twitter users identified above, including myself, lose and gain followers practically every hour.

Military Uniform, U.S. Army

I served proudly in the military for over eight years as a soldier, and over eight years civil service.

While I don’t purchase Twitter followers for my personal account, I do advertise my account in various channels to increase my follower count just like magazines purchase advertising to increase their subscribers—aka, marketing my brand. That is how I do things in my profession. I work hard and invest on getting my brand out through every ethical channel possible and I tell it like it is. There is nothing fake about that! And as always, especially because I proudly served as an active-duty soldier in the U.S. Army, I close by saying, please don’t forget our military service members, their friends and families, it’s their sacrifices that protect our freedoms—and they are certainly real people. God Bless them! Rolando

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  1. Another site with a surprising number of fake accounts is Instagram with 17% fake and 29% inactive. Seems like the more general your audience is the more fakes and inactives you have. My twitter account, @AndreaM, focuses on photography too but to a much smaller audience, so I have only 1% fakes and 14% inactive.

    • Thanks for your feedback. It seems true, the larger the account, the less effective. I actually checked one rock star with a huge follower number but he only had 11% active followers, basically reducing his effective power to almost 10% of “his number.” Makes you wonder, though I chose to stay focused on photography accounts for this blog, if you click the link in the above mentioned New York Times article, they cite some very interesting well known accounts. Good read! Thanks!

  2. Very interesting, Rolando.
    Your numbers via StatusPeople have actually improved. As of Oct 18,

    Your comments are wise and effective – thanks for sharing them publicly on Twitter!

  3. I know for a fact that you are an interesting person. I am looking forward to following your unfiltered blogs.

    • Thanks Fred. Yep, I’ve had my days and I’m happy to say, you’ve seen some of them back in the Virgin Islands. Thanks for your friendship and loyalty.

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Welcome to (Lens Diaries™), a hybrid photography blog with social flair. The photoblog provides photo tips, photo tutorials and photo diaries by professional photographer, author, writer, speaker and social media consultant, Rolando Gomez.

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