Twitter Users Gone Wild!

In an earlier post called ‘SPAM 2.0‘, I shared an experience I had with people joining a Ning group I created with the sole purpose of spamming its members.

Well it seems lately I’ve seen a rise of people exploiting Twitter for spamming purposes.  I’ll never understand the mind of spammer (maybe that can be a future post).  On both my personal and college Twitter accounts, there has been a rise of people following with obviously no common interest or realistic intention, with the exception of shamelessly promoting the service (in most cases a pornography site).

Below is a screenshot of person’s tweet who followed me.  The link obviously directs you to an adult website.

twitterspam

I’m quite frustrated that every time we have great technologies developed and improved methods for communications, selfish and twisted individuals manipulate and corrupt these tools for their greedy purposes.

Here are some tips to avoid Twitter spammers:

  1. Check Followers/Following Ratio: I check how many followers they have compared to how many people they follow.  The user in the screenshot above is following 451 people but only 27 people are following them.  I would suspect that they are for personal gain and not true communication.
  2. Read Past Tweets: If you are unsure of the intent of a person following you, read some of their past tweets.  This will provide a clear picture of their activities on Twitter.
  3. Block Unwanted Users: By blocking users, they will no longer be able to follow you or have your tweets show up in their timeline.
  4. Protect Tweets: If you are very concerned about Twitter spammers, Twitter provides a way to protect your tweets.  On the Settings page, there is a ‘Protect My Tweets’ checkbox.  Only those you approve will be able to have your tweets appear in their timeline.

How do you protect yourself from Twitter spammers?  Please share your ideas here to make Twitter a more useful tool.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/devinmason @DevinMason

    I think your best course of action to fight Twitter spam is to pay close attention to tip 1 and 2, and really put into action tip 3. In my experience blocking spammers seems to curb further spam. In one day last week I got a total of 60 new followers 53 of which were spam who all had the same avatar. Because there were so many spammers I wanted to block, I used a tool called twitblock.com which allows you to block a bunch of accounts at the same time without having to deal with Twitter’s lag time. Since taking the time to block the spam accounts, I have only received 4 new spam followers over the last 6 days.

    That being said, I disagree that you should go as far as to protect your tweets. After all, this is social networking so blocking the social aspect of the service is a bit backwards. You’re dealing with your personal brand on Twitter, so the last thing you want is to appear closed off to other people. Managing your brand and your followers takes effort. If you don’t have time or want to take the time to manage it, Twitter may not be the right tool for you.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    Thanks for commenting Devin. I also don’t believe in protected tweets, I just gave it as an option for the highly paranoid. I do believe in open communciation, that was is so great about Twitter. I believe tips 1 – 3 are adequate for dealing with Twitter spammers, I will check out your suggested tool – twitblock.com.

    Thanks again.