A Message To Twitter Spammers:

As the practice of following 30,000-60,000 people on twitter and then unfollowing each person that doesn’t follow you back gains in popularity (resulting in 10,000 followers, they must be an expert!), this quote by Jeremy Tanner stands out to me:

Sure, build an “Elite Power Account”, but don’t call yourself expert, maven, guru, or coach. Spamming Twitter does not make you a Premier Thought Leader. It makes you an Idiot.

How is this problem solved?  Ban the users who spam in twitters name.  Pretty simple.

The web is all about reputation, and it is beyond me how some think that this tactic would be accepted, go without notice or backfire in any way.

via Grant Blakeman


Perhaps this simple UI change is all we need:

What I Don't Want To See

  • very true, i'm tired of getting people like that on my twitter.

  • “it makes you an idiot” Agreed and Pwned.

  • I'm not sure they need to go so far as to ban users that do it. As twitter grows communities are going to form around the speakers that have the most to offer. If the people mass following then unfollowing have nothing to say eventually their followers are going to move on.

    I don't see an audience on twitter as being any different from an audience anywhere. Any idiot can get one, just walk into a crowded room and start shouting. Keeping them is what matters. An audience that isn't engaged or doesn't care, doesn't matter.

    Nothing twitter can do will stop the type of people that only care about the number of people listening to them from caring about that. What might be better is if tools like http://twitter.grader.com gave weight to the longevity of your engagement with a follower and took churn rates into account. These are in my mind more important numbers for the people that want to measure things to pay attention to. In my mind someone who is steadily gaining and keeping followers at the rate of one a day has a far more compelling message than someone getting a thousand and losing half within a week.

  • klaus2go

    I think you and Jeremy are a little off track. Instead of whining and complaining you might come up with some ideas on how to change things. You are both bright bulbs. You also know very well how to reach out.

    I initiated a discussion on what could be improved here: http://snurl.com/avwto
    Please feel free to add your two cents. You might also start your own discussion separately.

    I also think your judgments are to general. You indirectly labeled my a spammer and an idiot with your latest post. So you might not support my efforts. I respect you regardless and am not holding a grudge;-)

    One more thing:
    Please take an acting class before making more videos. You are on to something but there is a little room for improvement;-)

  • Jim

    I would like more tools to look through followers to see ratio of followers:following and other metrics. I tend to block people who follow me if they look spammer-like.

  • I don't know if banning is the way to go. The nature of social media means natural attrition will take care of those who abuse the community like this. There are even numerous 'famous online' Twitterers who are so full of themselves that they will eventually fall off the map because of their inattention to all areas of their network. And justly so.

  • I didn't mean to whine in my post, it was to be an indictment of those who use your tactics. If you spam (Binge / Purge followers on Twitter) you ARE a spammer. I didn't label you, your behavior did. I have no problem with your cause (Ubuntu Now) but the ends do not justify the means. Sticking up a 7-11 and then giving the money to Red Cross is still armed robbery. I've never called for Twitter bans, just better behavior. We both know you can do better.

    Regarding feedback on my video: Anything tips more constructive than “Take an acting class?” We're looking for any feedback, but being specific helps.


  • Maybe this has something to do with the surge of “I need a bazillion friends”
    Yes an ebook! (grr)

  • hubs

    I like your “has followed” idea. Another approach would be “average time of follows”. I like data and measurement.

    I see the problem you, Jeremy, and others are having – you have spent a lot of time and effort building a cult of followers the “right” way and you don't want to see that compromised. The measurement of followers (which i have seen referred to as expertise, relevance, popularity, and even trust) can now be easily obtained and you want your hard work to remain intact. I can see why you don't want that destroyed. But calling for the banning users for using the services twitter provides and calling names isn't the solution. I also don't think the solution is twitters to fix. It's up to us as users to follow the right people and block the right people. Anyway, that's just my take. I'm now sorta bored with the subject, so you won't have to worry about me commenting on this again 😉

  • andrewhyde

    On you point, I think I care about this for 10% of the 'have done it the right way' and 90% enjoying a service and seeing the rise of spam as a threat to the usability, and in turn, value of the service.

  • andrewhyde

    Oh, they must be an expert.

  • andrewhyde

    I agree with this, but don't think having users send out 30,000 requests because others are doing it should be tolerated or allowed.

  • andrewhyde

    Looks like they have started banning some members… interesting

  • andrewhyde

    One thing I would add to clarify, each user that decides to go this route of spamming (see Klaus below, who spams twitter) is sending 30,000-60,000 adds, which trigger emails to the users of twitter. Now if the user doesn't add them back, they will be unfollowed and then can get another follower email from the spammer in a matter of time.

    That user experience sucks. It needs to be fixed. All the reputation management is gravy on top of that.

  • andrewhyde

    I did offer a solution, pretty clearly. Ban spammers like yourself.

    I like how you, a spammer, have taken the liberty to start a discussion on what twitter should do to be better. Any standing you had has been lost in many peoples eyes.

    The web is in many ways is built on reputation. Why would you risk reputation to do something this stupid?

    I don't think we labeled you as an idiot or a spammer, I think you did that. http://twittercounter.com/?username=klaus2go&ch

  • I wish someone like you who follows 6399 people, has 5930 followers and just generated hundreds of followers with the exact same approach you are calling me a spammer for would choose their words a bit more wisely.

    I tried to have a discussion and reach out but you. Your reply shows that this doesn't seem to make sense right now.

    It saddens me to see you so agressive and close minded. You Tweet about 5 times as much per day as I do. That is where we are differnet. I value quality versus quantity. And my followers do as well.

    Fortunately most people in the social media landscape are a bit more open minded and are willing to have a conversation and are able to agree to disagree without using such an agressive style. I do not pretend to know it all. I tune in and listen.

    But I do know a thing about social media as well. I have been around for a little while.

    You ought to look up the definition of a spammer before you continue to call me that. At the very least you should let my followers decide.

  • NULL

    This would be a great addition.

  • andrewhyde

    Sorry to have to break it to you, but I just follow back. Yep, there are 400 people that have unfollowed me after I followed them (or some other metric). That is far, far, far, far away from adding 3k in a day and then unfollowing 2,400. That is what is called spamming. That is what you are doing.

    And I think that is wrong.

  • Finally we are getting somewehre here. I agree with you that following 3k people in a day and unfollowing 2400 of them is way too agressive and does not serve the community.

    I have never been even close to these numbers.

    Other behaviors that I would put in the same category is to send out auto replies with offers for free ebooks or iphones. There is no shortage of those either.

  • I've noticed this more-and-more too in the last 2 months.

    It's a cheap trick. I signed up to Qwitter and keep an eye on the people that swoop in and then swoop back out again

  • jennyjenjen

    Quality, not quantity, will never lose its value.

    I use Qwitter and it doesn't seem like it works well. Do you use Qwitter? I'm not sure I like it all that much, but I keep an eye on it.

  • firewallender

    It would be nice in the email notification one receives from Twitter if they listed the stats you mention above, Andrew, as well as the person's bio and last ten or so tweets with timestamps. Then you wouldn't even have to leave your email if they appeared spammy, you could just delete the email and be done with them.

    Twitter also needs a “friends you have in common” feature, which would help you determine if the person is someone you might bump into in real life or online in your field of interest, without having to dig deep into the person's tweet history and list of who they are following.

  • wow– I wish there were stronger reputation monitoring tools on twitter, well beyond the grader and friend recommending engines. Perhaps some sort of noise filter based on how many friends. I have only 850 friends (followers and following) on twitter and that's too much.

  • Jacob B

    Personally, I think you've got it all wrong!

    What you are labeling as spam is NOT spam!

    Spam, is using auto tools to sent out spam tweets, @replies – or manually tweeting spammy crap, ads, etc –

    What has the technique used to build a reciprocal following got to do with spam????

    Twitter is about communicating, two way – not broadcasting, so if someone doesn't follow me back, I'll un-follow them, simple as that. And, if I decide to take the action of following as many people as I can within my area of interest, keeping all of those who follow me back – but purging those who don't – why is that spam??

    What is wrong with following lots of people? Nothing in my opinion. Twitter have decided to impose follow limits based on following size, so they have caused people who want to follow lots of people to have to purge out those who don't follow back – if it wasn't for the follow limit I wouldn't be too bothered about those who don't follow back.

    If you use auto tweet tools to send automatic tweets, auto @replies, and if you post spammy tweets – that makes you a spammer, following as many people as you can to build your audience & then purging those who haven't followed back, isn't spam.

    If it is, please explain why it is.


  • Well you already know I agree.

    Thanks for the link tonight.

  • AMEN!!

  • AMEN!!

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