Why @peterjamesfreer is a spammer

July 23rd, 2010 by Laura Leave a reply »

@peterjamesfreer boldly posts on his Twitter profile that he’s not a spammer.  He isn’t selling a product, therefore he isn’t a spammer.  That’s awesome except spam isn’t about product selling.  Spam is an unwanted e-mail, usually of a bulk matter and often selling a product.  The important part of that definition is the first part: Unwanted.

I love Twitter.  There are some truly awesome people on Twitter.  I love to interact on Twitter.  That’s why I use it.  I’m relatively selective in who I chose to follow because I use it to interact, to maintain relationships and to develop new ones.  That’s my primary purpose.  My secondary purpose involves getting news from various sources that I consider relevant.

Both of these follow practices involve two very different types of interactions.  The first generally requires a mutual follow with the intention of interacting.   If a person follows too many people, it means the chances of our interaction will be low.  Thus, I’m less likely to follow them unless I believe that they will read my @ replies or they are that important network wise that I need to follow them anyway.  In these cases, being followed by those people first is awesome as it lets me know that they are there.

The second kind of follow does not require that I get a follow back as I don’t have any intention necessarily of interacting with that person or business and if I do, it would be in another format, such as on their website.  Do I need the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun Times to interact with me?  No. I follow them to keep up with news from home.  Do I expect to interact much with United Airlines?  No.  I’m following them to find out about deals that they may have.  Do I expect to interact much AFL clubs?  Not really but it would be awesome.  I’m mostly following them for research and content purposes.

@peterjamesfreer followed me.  I didn’t go “Hey! Here’s a guy selling himself really well, providing valuable must read content!  I’ve got to follow him.  I know he has 10,000 followers but I’m not seriously expecting to interact with him so no big deal.  He’s posting about Chicago/social media metric analysis/Australian sport/living in Australia.”  I didn’t find him and think that.   He didn’t follow me because he expected to interact with me.  I know this to be true because he has 10,000+ followers so he can’t ever possibly read me.  (I can barely keep up with 350 and the only reason I can is that a lot of people aren’t active.)  Neither one of us is going to get any value out of a mutual relationship follow.

Wait.  He might.  He might be defining followers as value… and if you’re following me, if you’re reading my stuff (which he isn’t), then you’d get that I have a world view that sees that sort of behavior as not particularly meaningful.  I’ve been talking to people professionally and making it clear that you’ve got to have some sort of goal when it comes to social media, you’ve got to have some sort of objective and some way to measure success.  If you’re a candy shop in rural Illinois, it would be easy enough to get 3,000 followers.  If 2,500 of your followers are from Pakistan, Kosovo, the PNG and you don’t ship there and you don’t have a plan for how to get those followers to visit you in rural Illinois, then your Twitter strategy is full of massive fail.  You’re never going to convert those people over.  Given that, it would be better to have 150 followers all from yoru part of rural Illinois.  It would be good to read those followers, to interact with those followers and to develop relationships with those people.  THAT will lead to more sales, greater awareness of who you are, spread the word of mouth about your business to the wider community.

Where @peterjamesfreer fails is that he doesn’t seem to be about either of these: He doesn’t create organic content that people will naturally find on their own.  He doesn’t appear to be about developing relationships.  (He can’t as he can’t read us.)  He doesn’t appear to have a audience he’s targeting.  (Why target some one who rails against the type of behavior he engages in?)  He indiscriminately follows people.  He’s willing to risk their ire.  He doesn’t care because he claims he’s not a spammer.

All the denials in the world won’t make him less of a spammer.  He’s not reading people.  He’s sending intrusive requests for interaction.  He appears to be assuming most people are automating their follows to automatically follow him.  (Which creates a huge net of not reading people.  Twitter has a huge ecosystem of spam that I want to avoid.)  He offers zero value to the people follows.  That’s classic spam behavior.  His comment regarding not being a spammer is based on a false definition of spam and the idea that Twitter is about building meaningless metrics, and in building those metrics, what you’re doing isn’t spam.

@peterjamesfreer needs to remove the line about being a spammer.  He can continue on with his spam follows if he wants.  (Just don’t target me and my accounts.  Please.  I’m tired of Twitter spam.  He’s not the first.  He’s about the 15th this week, but the first to say he’s not a spammer.)  He could change his behavior.  (Unfollow down to an amount of people he could reasonably follow, selectively follow people based on how they help him accomplish his objectives, interact with a greater percentage of people on his follows list, provide great content that will grow his followers list, or get a job that will automatically improve his follower numbers.)    @peterjamesfreer should be more honest in his profile page.

Oh and @peterjamesfreer shouldn’t follow people who are doing work that focuses on debunking the metric that he’s busy trying to use to make himself feel better about himself.

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