By all means, trump has more Twitter followers than most people in this world and that's to be expected with his Twitter account being a kind of hot-line to the president of this nation. When Trump was in the running for the president and then won the election, his Twitter followers were growing in leaps and bounds every day, but a sudden surge in followers have researchers puzzled.

Is odd stuff going on?

A surge in Twitter followers is deemed a rather mysterious event and it has researchers who study social media perking up and taking notice. According to The Washington Post, the reports cite Trump seeing a gain of 5 million Twitter followers happening in less than a week.

This same report also suggests that something "fishy" is going on with these new followers.


This something "fishy" may be due to bot followers. According to the Washington Post, the term "bot" is used to describe automated accounts, not real people, just technology acting like real people. These automated accounts are what many of the websites are trying to keep out by having you write those cryptic looking words in a box before you hit "enter," "send," or "continue," when creating an account of some type online.

Is something off?

Twitter Counter, which is a tracking site, puts Trump's Twitter account as getting about 2.4 million new followers in May alone, when you break it down into time, this indicates that every second of the day throughout the month of May, a Twitter follower signed up to Trump's account.

Samuel C. Wooley is a research director out of Oxford University, who has seen the numbers of new followers. He offers up his opinion on this surge of followers on Trump's Twitter account.

An expert weighs in

Wooley is considered an expert in this field and he indicates that from what he is seeing, it seems rather odd. Unlike the others who are concerned with a large number of followers, the number of new people following Trump is not as concerning to Wooley as another trend that he is seeing.

Trump does have more people following him on Twitter than most people do in the world. Considering how Trump uses Twitter as a news channel for the scoop coming out of the White House, people flock to his Twitter for the first-hand news. This seems to be especially true after all the fake news coming from the mainstream media.

Couple the news with the entertainment factor that Trump seems to provide with his tweets, people are going to want to follow this Twitter account. So what does Wooley find strange?

Twitter users without tweets

What Wooley does find strange is that there's a large number of Trump's new followers who carry very little information in their profile section. Many don't have a profile picture and they also don't show a history of tweeting. It is almost as if these people were so generic they could be a bot account.

These are called "egg-followers." This name comes that egg image that shows up where the profile picture would normally go when there is no profile picture offered. Wooley is not alone with his thoughts.

Jonathan Albright, who is the research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, also sees the new followers on Trump's Twitter page as not having much quality to them.

The Washington Posts reports that while Twitter has stopped using that "egg" as a fill-in for a Twitter user's profile picture when there isn't one offered up by the Twitter user, the term "egg followers" is still used.

Growing, growing and growing

SocialRank, another analytics company that works with big businesses, reported on Trump's numbers this week. They note that Trump's followers went from 24.1 million in February to 31 million in May. Trump's "egg followers" also grew during this same time period.

They went from 5 million to 9.1 million.

The SocialRank people also reported on Tuesday that "927,000 of Trump’s egg followers are new accounts from May." The lack of a profile picture doesn't deem the account fake in the eyes of the researchers, but a large number of them in a short period of time does make it a bit "fishy" looking.

Odd-looking followers

After all the debate over bot followers versus real folks signing up on Trump's Twitter account is said and done, the consensus coming from Alexander Taub, who is the chief executive of SocialRank, says it all. Taub said how Trump can still be drawing in a large number of real followers, while egg-followers could also be part of the surge in numbers seen. Apparently, Taub doesn't believe that the number surge would necessarily have to be one or the other, but it is more likely the numbers are coming from a combination of both.