Earlier this week, Tom Webster’s readings got me thinking of spam.
Huge bags of digital trash get dumped on us with annoying regularity. Sometimes the bags are closed, and we simply discard them all with a click - something I practice daily with email junk.
But in some cases it's hard to spot trash. Take Twitter, a hotbed for gullible social media explorers and intricate spam networks, as an example. If you don't get good at spotting spammers, and spotting them quickly, they will get the better of you. You may leave Twitter altogether, disillusioned, confused and humiliated.
To not let that happen, let's examine most glaring signs of Twitter spam.
The tricky part about Twitter is that spammers on there can look and act very much like humans:
- An impressive follower count. (How many of them are real is a whole other story.)
- A seemingly live, natural conversation flow in the feed. (Though if you start reading into it more, you will soon discover that the conversations don't make any sense.)
- A friendly profile picture, a more or less decent bio and a link to a nice-looking site. (In case you were wondering, plenty of famous bloggers and consumer brands are guilty of running spammy Twitter accounts.)
- Plus you see a nice K label with a magic "influence" score attached to it. Surely high Klout score means something?.. (Too bad, it doesn't. Welcome to Kloucheworld!)
Trusting the numbers and looks, we get tricked into following spammers. What happens then?
Best case scenario is that we get silence in return.
Worst case scenario? We get tons of DM spam, an annoying Twitter feed, and many more trashy followers. Your account gets broken into. Mine was, on June 19. Check me out sending Direct Message (DM) spam to my Twitter friends:
Spam content comes in all shapes and sizes, but the motives are common. Find a sucker, promise him the moon, and get him to shell out money for a very special e-book with the secret rags to riches recipe, for only $39.99. You probably know the script painfully well by now.
With so much spam floating around Twitter, quickly filtering it out is a must-have skill for a young student of social media. Learn it, and thrive on fantastic connections all around you. Ignore it, and perish in spam debris.
Don’t let the latter happen. Get to know spammers; study their behavior and know what to look out for in Twitter spam. Here are some sure signs:
No profile picture
Stick figure profile picture
Animated gif as profile picture
Bland/generic user name
Retweets, retweets, retweets
@ reply spam
#Teamfollowback and #Other #Stupid #Hashtags
One tweet, many followers
Non-stop group tweets
Quiet for a month or longer
Keep in mind that neither of the above behaviors automatically qualify you as a spammer. You've got to look for a pattern, and in most spam accounts you will be quick to find one. Usually, the more of the above signs apply to a Twitter account, the higher the chances that you are dealing with a spam bot.
Whether you want to be a Twitter spammer yourself is your decision. Some seemingly spammy accounts are actually quite good. Some Twitter users who don't tweet often aren't necessarily spam. But if you don't want to be taken for a spammer and are not sure why people aren't following you back, you may want to go through the list again and re-evaluate your Twitter habits.
Got any more spammy Twitter behaviors exposed? Share, and I will add them on to the post.
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