I’ve had several people ask me as of late why I bother to take the time to block spammers who follow me on Twitter. You asked, I’m answering.
Spammers are out to serve only themselves. Last I checked, it’s called “social media” not “me media.” Spammers are anything but “social” in nature and often push services of a dubious nature. They appear in my Twitter stream uninvited with their non-topical, keyword search-generated auto Tweets and they piss me off to no end.
It’s akin to being in a meeting that’s 1.5 hours deep and the kid from the mailroom outside overhears someone in the conference room say the word “suitcase” through the glass wall. Suddenly, Mail Boy barges into the conference room and exclaims:
“Hey! If you’re looking for awesome suitcases, my uncle runs a store in Illinois! Has for 30 years! Just tell him Billy sent ya and he’ll give you one heckuva deal.”
…and then exits, grabs his mail cart and strolls along down the hallway. Meanwhile, everyone in the conference room is wondering what the hell just happened. THAT’S SOCIAL MEDIA SPAM.
If you’re on Twitter and you’re doing it right, you’ve taken (or ARE taking) the time to build-up a meaningful following and being selective about whom you choose to follow. (If you’re not, fine – go ahead and live in your room with 15,000 TVs all tuned to different stations roaring at full-blast.) Spammers are the telemarketers of the social media: when you shut one down, another gets your number and invariably calls your cell phone during dinner.
Twitter spammers prevent:
- Accurate user statistics on a macro level
- Accurate follower/following statistics on a micro (user-by-user) level
- The Twitter support team from spending time protecting and improving their technology and making it monetizable (the biggest challenge they’ve had with their business model to-date)
If you’re NOT actively blocking spammers from your Twitter account, you’re doing the entire Twitter community a huge disservice. Are you so damn insecure that you need the 114 fake women asking you to “look at thr sxxy webcam pix XXX” comprising your follower numbers? Hey, if you just like porn – awesome – but follow the REAL porn stars and not the spam accounts, would ya?
But Erika – how do I know if someone is a spammer?
- Look at their Twitter stream. If it’s all broadcast about the same thing and no @’s – yeah, probably spam.
- Women’s names with letters and numbers following – while not always the case, these little porn bots crop up in droves and usually are inviting you to view their sexy pictures. And guys – just like at the strip club – they don’t love you. They’re spambots.
- Any dink who’s tweeting about getting a gazillion followers in 3 days. Spam, spam, spam. If you USE one of these services, you’re an asshole. You’re killing Twitter and the meaningful connections that can be made and are obviously not willing to put in the time to build a relevant network. (Yeah, I said that. Sue me.)
So, Erika – what do we DO when we find spammers following us?
YOU BLOCK THEM! And here’s how to do it and what happens when you do:
Click on your Followers and go to Expanded View (not List View). This will show you your followers’ most recent tweet (useful for determining if a user is a spammer in many cases).
Copy the username and send a message to @spam like this with the spammer’s username you’re going to block.
Select BLOCK from the drop-down menu in your Followers panel.
Confirm the block.
When you block spammers AND send their username to @spam, the Twitter administrators keep track of users who are consistently blocked. Excessive blocks will flag their account for removal either immediately or in a mass purge. They perform these purges on a regular basis, which prompts people who don’t pay attention to their followers to cry, “OMG! I lost 64 followers! WTF!?” the next day. Read more about Twitter’s spam policy and —guess what???— what I’ve told you to do to spam accounts above is EXACTLY what Twitter tells you to do with them! I’m just the messenger.
So there you go: why you should block spammers on Twitter and the PROPER procedure for doing it. Help keep Twitter’s userbase clean so the admins can actually work on keeping the Fail Whale out of view instead of cleaning up the the mess from people who leave their turds in Twitter’s yard.
*** LARGE PRINT DISCLAIMER: “Blocking” accounts on Twitter is meant to be a protective action – if you don’t care for another Tweep’s content or style, you don’t have to FOLLOW them. Simply unfollow – don’t BLOCK them. Just remember that you’re the one who subscribed to their content in the first place – you’re the one who can unsubscribe as well.
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