Dark Days Of Twitter Are Upon Us

Right off the top, I need to disclose that “I HATE spammers”. Idon’t often use the word “hate” – in fact, I actually “hate” the word“hate” – if that makes ANY sense.  I guess what I really dislike is thethought of someone violating or intruding upon my life in any way thatis unwelcome and steals enjoyment away from an activity that should bemine to enjoy.  In the analog world, this includes pushy salespeople ortelemarketers calling me at dinner time.  In the digital world, emailspam, intrusive pop-ups and malware are in the same category.  Now Ihave another to add to the list – Twitter Spam…ci9agystfj

The world’s fastest growing social network, which is training us allto communicate succinctly in 140-characters or less, is under seigefrom what seems like a never-ending barrage of unwanted, unsolicitedand increasingly frequent “noise” in our twitter streams.

Mark Evans just wroteabout this issue, and the fact is this is becoming a huge issue forthose of us looking to leverage value from Twitter -a medium where thevalue proposition is a twitter stream laden with “golden eggs” of highquality links, commentary and updates.  After all, these are the folksyou choose to follow. As Seth Godin would say, you’ve given them “permission” and the “privilege” to network and market with you.

Spammers have no such contract or privilege.  Twitter staff recently did a big cleanupwhich was noticed in reduced follower counts – but many are calling fora sustained response and strategy from Twitter on how to better protectits service (and users) from what are driving some to consider droppingout of the Twittersphere until things improve.

The following are the *official* Cardoso rules of engagement (ROE)on how to combat SPAM on Twitter. These ROE are based on 3 keyprinciples.  If you don’t buy into these principles, stop reading andmove on.

Twitter Value Proposition – Key Principles
#1. I choose those I follow based on common interest, values and/or individuals that I believe say interesting things.

#2. Getting to 50,000 followers by Dec. 31, 2009 is not of anyinterest to me.  I want people to follow me because they are genuinelyinterested in what I have to say.  An artificially high follower countand whatever “status” that brings, is not my end-game.

#3. I represent “myself” on Twitter – whether that be my company, mybrand, my blog, my life interests or passions, or just “me”.  I treatpeople with respect and expect the same back – it’s a two-way-street,and there’s no room for one-way traffic.

Still with me? Just you Mom, love ya….just for you then….

“Cardoso’s” Top 5 Twitter Anti-SPAM Rules Of Engagement
#5. Don’t contribute to Spam yourself.Posting the same update over and over throughout the day is not cool. If you want to repeat something, be creative.  Don’t be a billboard. If you act like a billboard, I’ll treat you like a billboard.  Thatincludes quoting inspirational quotes over and over again.  Don’t getme wrong, I enjoy the quotes – but in moderation.  If I get more than 5of them in a 60 second time plan, I start twitching.  Don’t make metwitch please ; also please, do not @message someone with a random linkor request to ride on their twitter coattails.  Make your interactionsmeaningful and remember every impression counts.  If you ever wantGuyKawasaki or another ”Twitter Juggernaut” to friend you, don’t be aP.I.T.A.  I think most know what that stands for.. 8-D

#4. Use Follower/User Maintenance Tools to prune your Twitter Contacts. If you have fallen into some bad habits and are now trying to “clean up your Twitter act”, you can use services like TwerpScan which is one I’ve recently started using – but there are many options out there.  Here’s one of many lists of follower maintenance tools and utilities.

#2. See a spammer? Call them out. Block & Report. It’sbecoming harder and harder to spot the “spammers” but whenever I see asuspect “tweet”, or worse, click on what appears to be a “legitimate”link that is in fact “misrepresented” — I (a) reprimand the user(b) scan their stream to see if this is a pattern or perhaps a randomoccurance (c) depending on the result of (a) and (b) either give them“a second chance” or just hit the Block and Report as Spam link. (see Principle #3)

#2. Do *not* sign up for any service that is designed to artificially get you followers, or “tweet” on your behalf. Your tweets should be YOURS.  Followers are something you *earn* and your tweets will be interpreted as being from you.I’m not talking about services that let you “schedule” your tweets -that might be appropriate.  Just be careful about sounding like aparrot – you don’t want those “standard messages” to be the bulk ofwhat you are tweeting.  Otherwise you will get dropped…quickly. (seePrinciple #2 & 3)

#1. Do *not* (no, never EVER) Auto-Follow.Why would you want to do this? Spammers are counting on you toreciprocate their follow so they can bombard your stream with unwanteddrivel.  I sift through each new follower notification and make thedecision myself (see Principle #1)
So, don’t act like a spammer, and don’t tolerate those who spam. Use Twitter for Good, not Evil.

Be Good, Keep Making IT Work!


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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