The Future Of Twitter Spam

Twitter has become a social media website that truly connects people from various spaces on the Internet. The pivotal nature of the commons of Twitter has resulted in considerable informational power. Unfortunately many people misunderstand how to use Twitter power for their business. The free traffic is an obvious consequence of Twitter. Now people can fill their blog with global traffic and build up amazing cluster maps. Only sites like Face book, and YouTube previously afforded this kind of attention. Twitter hype is now settling, but the question remains, how substantiated is our spot in the hierarchy? To be more precise twitter does not work by that law. The reason is that who we follow, and how we interact with them is crucial. Being followed by a million spammers for example would be wielding a zero percent Twitter global influence. On the other hand actively engaging just a few interesting people is a huge social proof that few people really have. Because of this many people have now mass unfollowed spammers, and people irrelevant to their conversation and content sharing direction. Because of this many publications from the Times, Tech Crunch, and Mashable have all implied the significance of how many unreciprocated followers we have. For example Ashton Kutcher follows only a few hundred people, while he is followed by many millions and accelerating. Many publications have correctly pointed out that this is largely because Twitter has been promoting Ashton. For example when people join Twitter he is recommended as a follow. Also the hype from Ashton follower trail has created a gigantic sales funnel. His celebrity status, TV time and PR stunts have gathered up masses of people. But fundamentally Ashton had accomplished a great deal of fame and business success in very visible industries related to entertainment and products. For me on the other hand I follow every one who follows me. The whole signal that I am after is that fact that I am here to network and get to know people. Using Twitter and social media for me is about getting ahead so I adjust the tool accordingly. People who follow me understand this, and how I am fundamentally different than Ashton in how I use the tool called Twitter. But I do firmly believe that no matter how famous Ashton can get there could possibly be a stronger promotional funnel in theory. This would have to be from a person who either A is the best Internet marketer ever, or B gains notoriety some way. Ultimately the stamp of making it on Twitter is manifested in the numbers, the followers, how people use the tool, and many other clues as well. People pick up on the trail and for example will unfollow a person who does not reply to people, or posts spammy links and quotes. We all know who those people are. Unfortunately with the inception of countless Twitter automation devices, programs, and 3rd party sites people can pretty much set up ghost Twitter accounts around any name or form they want. For example people do fun things and try to gain many followers. Notoriety is often gained by coming up with creative brands, or impersonation of celeb accounts. Many marketers advocate doing this because it is just realizing a market. Often their are legal inroads not to mention the fact that people have little time to dissolve their imitators. Twitter has fought back with verified accounts. This allows the users to know who really is Ashton Kutcher and not the many fake ones that rise and fall every day. This contrasts markedly with other social sites where the distinction is not too clear. But the spam still is alive and well on Twitter. There are several spam categories:

1. The expert spammer that walks away with much money from working all of the parts of Twitter.

2. The novice Twitter spammer who does not make much money but annoys many people.

We have to be careful with what is considered spam. The social web has sped up. Twitter went from a site where people posted just a few times a day, to a rapid fire spur of the moment shout blasts. In the matrix of how many people an active user follows determines their perceptions of the Tweets of the people they follow. For example I tweet a lot so I get unfollowed by people who are not used to the load and often hang with people that only Tweet promotional and essential material. On the other hand Twitter head marketers who Tweet hundreds of thousands of Time a year may unfollow me because they only appreciate people immersed in the tool at their level. As a result Twitter spam is as much perceptual as it is real. For example I may follow and unfollow a person by accident many times. From my perspective it may have seemed in good faith. But if I do get blocked then besides maybe just a forceful social no it is also an indication that I crossed the line on Twitter. Because of this many marketers advocated not following anyone and letting people come to you. The only problem with this model is that being fore ward and social is the best way to get the ball rolling online. Obviously Twitter spam has malicious qualities. This could be as simple as useless information, deceptive links, malicious computer damaging bugs, online warfare, emotional abuse, or anything else bad. Spammers are more covert now. Many realize the futility of the Follower Train mentality. After all they lost an account or two just from following as many people as possible. As a result they just reply to you using the @ and saying stuff like check out this linking to such and such that does this or that. Spammers also direct message people because of the insanely high conversion rates associated with online mail especially with Twitter engagement. Spammers are evolving with Twitter itself and the people that get annoyed by them. I suspect spam will be here for awhile. Tell me your thoughts on Twitter spam.

- Joe Gelb

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