Why I added Bradley Dalton to my Twitter spammer list

October 13th, 2010 by Laura Leave a reply »

On 10/13/10 7:36 AM, Bradley Dalton wrote:
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>WHY HAVE YOU PUT ME ON A SPAMMERS LIST ON TWITTER?

Hi.  Thank you for your question.  I don’t know which account you control.  What likely happened is the following:

You followed one of the five accounts I control.  (@purplepopple , @ozziesport are the two most likely culprits.)   I looked at the e-mail that notified me of your follow.

I likely looked at how many people you followed.  If you followed more than 1,000 people, the chances of you reading my Twitter stream was minimal.  People with more than 1,000 people they follow who continue to follow tend to be what I characterize as Twitter spammers.  They follow people with the hopes of getting follows  back where the person they follow will read their Twitter stream.  This makes a person a spammer: They are sending unsolicited requests to strangers, using a medium that has social pressures that tend to demand that you follow back in order to be nice. They don’t offer anything in return (what did you offer me?) that the person being followed would find valuable.  (I’m not interested in Viagra either)

I’ve heard arguments this type of follow isn’t spam because the person being followed doesn’t have to return the follow.  That’s bullshit in a social world.  It wouldn’t be spam if the person who initiated the follow sequence first decided to add the person to a list.  There isn’t social pressure to reciprocate by adding a person back to their own list.  They also don’t get return follows.

Having too many followers to actually follow wouldn’t be problematic.  Another way to get around spam following when you have a huge number of followers to the point where you can’t keep up with them but still want to follow is to engage them.  If, instead of following first, you had engaged me in dialog so that I’d want to follow you as clearly established that you wanted to  engage with me, were interested in what I was doing and offered me some value, I would likely follow you and then your return follow isn’t spamming… but rather follows the social norms of the community.

Now, as I don’t know your account situation, I might have added you to a spammer list for another reason.  That reason would involve having on your Twitter stream a statement like “Get 100 Twitter followers”.  If that’s the case, it demonstrates some one is not interested in providing value to the people they follow but instead are interested in improving a meaningless metric: Number of followers.

I hope that answers your question.  I would be happy to remove you from that list if you could offer me a clear and coherent rational for why, using my own definition for what a Twitter spammer is, you are not a Twitter spammer.  I love Twitter.  I’d love it more if people weren’t constantly sending Twitter follow spam and obsessing over the number of followers.

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  • I have to agree that I find the whole spamming business a bit depressing. Surely people who spam could use their 'talents' to better effect. I don't mind people using the Internet for personal gain, but they should at least try to add some value while they do it. If it's not value, it's just waste (apologies for the slight rant - you should see my inbox!)

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