And… There Goes the Neighborhood…

neighborhoodI, like many others, have been concerned about the rise of spam on Twitter. First, spammers would book a user name, follow a bunch of users, In hopes of auto-follows, then auto-DM those users with spam links (this is why I never auto-follow). Then, there has been talk of spammers latching on to a trending hashtag with an irrelevant spam message containing a link to an unrelated site. I have no issue with self-promotion, as long as it’s done tactfully, and is designed to add value to the conversation. By latching on to a trending hashtag, a spammer will appear in the search timeline for anyone tracking that topic, and thus gain great visibility.

spamNow, last night, as I was following my twitter stream before going to bed, I came across this link to a “guru” site promising to amass tons of twitter followers fast. It made me vomit a little. Real estate scams, now Twitter scams? This is fueled by the rise of a blind race for users, fueled by users like Ashton Kutcher and others who amass followers like it’s some kind of a competitive sport. Amassing followers may be fun, if that’s your type of thing: a popularity contest of sorts. But if you are looking to build value for yourself and your followers via Twitter, you will be wrong to follow this path. The Twitter community is all about building long-term relationships, listening and engaging before you speak, being authentic and being human. The 30 second spot is fading in efficacy, and brands looking to really engage their hard-to-reach customers must not use Twitter as a 1-way broadcast system. Which is why I am disappointed by these developments, but also think that spammers will soon realize that Twitter is not the right medium for amassing tons of followers non-organically and blasting them with a 1-way message. As Brian Solis said in response to this development (via Twitter, of course), “Those driven by the # of followers will find themselves alone as social Darwinism ensures the survival of the loyal+helpful.” And remember that there are no shortcuts to success, only hard work and producing quality content. There is no such thing as an “automated Twitter traffic machine”.

These developments, while not surprising, disappoint me. I am not surprised, because Twitter has definitley jumped the shark, and all popular digital communication methods get invaded with spammers after they become popular. But it does make me a little sad to see this behavior going on in a medium that we have come to love for its community feel. I guess this is what happens when web products start to cross the chasm.

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4 Responses to “And… There Goes the Neighborhood…”

  1. The Guys Says:

    Killer article. If our blog comments get overloaded by spambots again we are going to jump off a cliff. Because our Twitter name (@The_Guys) includes the word “guys” we get spammed to death by fake female profiles of web sluts and porn sites. Lame.

  2. TheMaria Says:

    Thanks for the kudos! Yeah, spam is a huge issue, and it’s especially disturbing to see it in social media. I think what makes me so disturbed is the fact that it’s tarnishing the community orientation and the passionate, authentic communication. Or maybe it’s because I am used to seeing it in other places, but not social media.

  3. Twitter and Otaku « theMaria’s M.O. Says:

    […] is lost, and the medium is used in a gauche and ineffective manner (i.e. one-way broadcasts, spamming, autofollowing and auto-DM’ing. Moreover, as people start to follow more and more people, […]

  4. Gary Vaynerchuk: “Twitter has allowed me to scale my caring” « One Goode Wine Blog Says:

    […] the number of followers we have. I agree: it’s the quality that matters, not the quantity. Spammers can grow the number of followers with an astronomic speed via auto-follows. But does anyone care […]

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