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Twitter Spam Not Likely to Kill Twitter

Users Can Take Precautions, Businesses Will Damage Reputations

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[ Social Media]

Like all popular services, Twitter gets abused too. Who would’ve thought? Will spam kill Twitter? Well, do you still use email?

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Twitter, which is still pretty much in its infancy to a communication medium that has been around pretty much as long as the web itself, but with the momentum that Twitter popularity is gaining, I can’t see it being incredibly threatened real soon.

Have a phone? You get telemarkters. Use email, you get spammers. Use Twitter? You still get spammers. Whatever the next big thing is, I can pretty much guarantee it will be exploited as well.

There have been many complaints lately about Twitter spam. A Bloomberg article looks at this situation.

"Twitter users post 140-character updates about their lives, making the site a potential goldmine for marketers wanting to know what customers are thinking about," says Bloomberg’s Joseph Galante. "While Twitter Inc. could make money by charging companies to send ‘tweets’ to potential customers, the corporate babble may alienate users, threatening to stem the 18-fold growth in visitors in the past year."

It’s true that marketers love Twitter. There is a ton of potential for it as a marketing channel. I’ve certainly championed the idea as much as the next guy. That said, there are ethics involved. Just like with email, there is spam, and there is legitimate email marketing. You opt in for legitimate marketing messages. You also opt in to follow people (or companies) on Twitter.

They can’t direct message you unless you follow them back. Yes, they can talk at you with the @username strategy, but looking at those is basically the Twitter equivalent of an ego search on Google. Yes, people often use the @username to talk directly to you instead of going the direct message route, but thats on you and your friends. Direct messages are there for a reason.

Twitter's Spam Watch Account

Twitter’s Spam Watch Account

You also don’t have to make your tweets public, which will make it a lot harder for businesses to find you if you dont’ want to be found. The point is, there are precautions you can take if you don’t want certain companies or people to interact with you.

Now getting the automatic emails every time someone chooses to follow you is a different story, and one that I would not be surprised to see addressed by Twitter in the near future. Now that Ahston Kutcher and CNN have made headlines by breaking a million followers, many more people are going to try to go down similar paths (not that they’re not already doing so).

Businesses should exercise some discipline in their own Twittering. It is just not good business practice to annoy people. That can be just as damaging to a reputation as someone spreading tweets about your product being bad. And if you’re already within the channel that is Twitter, you’ll just be setting yourself up for backlash.

Twitter Spam Not Likely to Kill Twitter
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  • http://www.internethow.com/blog InternetHow Blog

    I agree with you completly. People don’t abondon their emails because of spam. But people can abondon their email accounts because of spam. So, same thing can happen with twitter. Also, twitter always described as a new marketing venue. So, people use it for spamming, same as email.

  • http://twitter.com/JomagHeredia Jomag

    Great advice on this topic Chris, I receive some followers daily that don

  • http://backroomgaming.com/index.php Adam BRG

    I just started using Twitter for one of my sites, its delicate balance trying to find followers, promote our site but also be contribute value or entertaining information.

    I try to include personal commentary, dialog specific to my niche as well as sit updates.

    I have seen tonnes of spam in the few days I have had an account and I can see how its completely useless to do so be cause I just ignore tweets from those people and soon will be unfollowing them once I get a better grasp on what I feel are best practices

  • Wayne

    Technically, it is not possible to “Spam” on Twitter. Using email, you receive junk emails, or spam from marketers and others you have no knoweldge of and no relationship with. That’s spam. On Twitter, you must elect to follow someone or you never will see there tweets. So, since you have elected to follow them (receive their tweets) how can it be spam? So you are really refering to receiving tweets you don’t prefer to receive, from people you chose to receive tweets from. So since that is NOT spam, lets give it a new name– how about “Twam” ? By the way, it’s here to stay!

    http://twitter.com/wcweeks

  • http://www.artworldplus.com AlaskaArtist

    I really hate the one who post 100′s of Tweets a day many within a second of each other. I unfollow these, there has never been a need to block them. Most of these span tweets have the oo for an avitar. Other span comes in the form of repeated sales pitches with links to websites with no conversation from a real person. Unfollow takes care of them too. The anoying celebrities that follow no one back but hog Twitter and slow down everone else’s action is not what we go to Twitter for. Most of us want a two way relationship on Twitter. Is this a new celerbraty hogging of Twitter a form of Spam?

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I’m mainly on Twitter for socially marketing my safety and security web site and I’ve found there to be a fine line between spam and promotion. I’ve been encouraged to let my followers know when products go on sale or when I post a new article on my forum but as I’ve done so, and it’s only been once or twice that I’ve done so, I’ve noticed the number of people following me decline. This could just be a natural course of events as my target audience stays and others leave but I think marketing needs to be carefully done on Twitter.

  • http://stores.ebay.com/tonyas-dynamic-designs?refid=store http://www.TonyasDynamicDesigns.com

    Thank you so much Chris for keeping us informed
    and up-to-date about the latest trends when it comes
    to Twitter and Spamming. I agree with you totally!

    I personally use Twitter for talking about common things
    that I am doing and on occassion, I will promote my eBay
    Design and Marketing Agency. I really do not like it all
    when I see 10 tweets in a row from someone because
    that does appear to be a little extreme and does look
    bad like you had mentioned.

    I think Tweeting in moderation whether it is for
    commerical use or personal use is perfectly fine.=)

    I am an eBay Powerseller and specialize in
    Search Engine Optimization Strategies and have been
    offering my Marketing Services on eBay since 2006.
    I also custom design websites and eBay Stores!

    If anyone needs Custom Website Designs or
    Internet Marketing, please come and see me! =)

    Sincerely,
    Tonya’s Dynamic Designs

  • http://www.maxreduce.com Max Kevin

    I totally agree with Ebony that marketers are exploiting Twitter. It seems like People are indeed using twitter like a mail. I have noticed that one persons tweet the same link in a day a total useless.

  • http://www.bookmarket.com John Kremer

    I always check out the @johnkremer posts because they are often very interesting and personally directed to me. I much prefer @johnkremer replies to DMs because it’s so much easier to engage in a conversation and track the relationship.

    DMs actually include more spam than @johnkremer replies. I just delete the spam messages. Not a problem now. If someone abuses DMs, I unfollow them.

    So I don’t see spam as being a big issue on Twitter.com.

  • Bryan

    With reference to above comments as to whether marketers will use twitter as a marketing tool; and more importantly HOW they will do it:

    Twitter is a way for direct marketers to build lists of potential customers quickly and easily. There are already at least half a dozen guides out there showing how to build big lists of followers quickly – then slowly introduce basic marketing principals to moneterize the effort.

    example (shamelessly!
    The Twitter Trick

    http://beepy1968.twittertrk.hop.clickbank.net/)

  • http://connectionsblog.net/ Yuri Alkin

    One of the key problems bots represent to Twitter is that they might make the data nearly unusable for meaningful data mining. Companies start looking at Twitter now for sereous reserach and if there’s too much junk in the system produced by bots, the exercise may become pointless. That said, this risk certainly can be mitigated on Twitter’s side with more investments into protection. More at wordpress.com/2009/04/23/twitter-wars-episode-ii-attack-of-the-twones/”>Twitter Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Twones

  • Dave Iannone

    The one poster is right, it certainly does seem like its here to stay, I blogged about someone who followed me today whose profile was basically one big ad..unbeliveable …
    http://www.itsfestive.com/2009/titans-of-twitter-spam-stinkers/

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