What is the price of integrity?

Last week I included a story in the Buzz and Brilliance weekly roundup that described a twitter account gone rogue. Since the stories I include are from reputable industry news sources, like TechCrunch, who reported on this one. The second comment on the TechCrunch post called it - "Think he is doing it himself to get more popular." by Goo Toor. That is, unless you believe the copious number of tweets Mark Davidson is sending out to justify his "satirical tweets" last week.

I don't think I would have followed up on it normally except that it popped into my mind and I thought to go look at his profile. I thought he was protesting just a little too much. During my usual news reading time, I came across this post on how to spot Twitter users who game the system to gain large numbers of followers. Essentially, your following on twitter will grow at a consistent rate if you're doing nothing to manipulate its growth.

All of this leads me to wonder what value people get out of this. More and more I see accounts with very few tweets and tens of thousands of followers. That's a dead giveaway to me that it isn't about providing good content as much as amassing as many followers as possible. This mentality is counter to one of the strongest beliefs I have about social media - that it's about adding value through quality content.

In the end, this guy has gotten a lot of media attention over tweets that added absolutely no value to anyone, but the guy has nearly 2,000 new followers in just a few days.

Apparently, you can buy integrity off of some people for the bargain basement price of a few followers.

What do you think of stories like this? Do they compromise the value of social media tools or will the crowd eventually weed out those who are gaming them?