Friday, August 1, 2014

Top 10 Myths About Twitter Spam Accounts

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Social Media

In the beginning when Twitter first attracted spam accounts, it was fairly easy to spot them: the teeth whiteners, the porn sites and the get rich quick schemes. But lately spammers have gotten smarter. Here we list the top 10 myths about spam accounts to make it easier for you spot them and ultimately eliminate spammers.

1. You Can Tell By Their Photo

You can never tell by their photos. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sexy picture, a playful picture, a celebrity photo, a grandmother or a photo that looks like the girl (or boy) next door; Spammers use the millions of photos available to them online on other twitter accounts, facebook pages, or even google image searches. Never follow based on a photo.

2. They Are Replying To People So They Must Be Real

The majority of spammers reply to dozens of people the moment they create the page. In most cases those replies are just random words, often they appear as broken English, but even more often they are scraped tweets that have been copied from other peoples twitter page to appear more real. Pay close attention to what people are replying to.

3. They Are Retweeting My Friends So They Must Be OK

The spam accounts of today tend to use the Twitter retweet button over and over and over again. often a quick glance at their page reveals no content at all when you eliminate all of the retweets of legitimate Twitter accounts. While some reveal a few spammy ads mixed in with legitimate retweets of good content.

4. They Have Thousands Of Followers So They Can’t Be A Spammer

Oh, but yes they can. There are still people that utilize auto-follow and basically follow any account that follows them, and since spammers have lists of these people (often high-profile users) and will start their account by following these people, they can easily and quickly assemble several thousand followers within days of setting up their account.

5. Only Real People Do #FollowFriday

That used to be the case, but very often you will receive #FollowFridays from people you don’t follow, and who do not even follow you. Programs created simply to build #FollowFriday lists can easily generate hundreds of these shout-outs. They are also easily copied and pasted from other users’ Twitter pages. But maybe the worst of these offenders are those that simply retweet #FollowFridays that list them, which in turn spams everyone’s stream and make Fridays a nearly unbearable all day spamfest on twitter.

6. They Are Just New And Don’t Know How To Tweet

Often you see people with no followers yet they keep sending out links to individuals to check out their new something (website, music video, special deal, contest, free gift, etc). But more often than not, they know exactly what they are doing, and they do it because you will fall for it.  If their Twitter page is full of the same tweet over and over again to dozens of different users, they are spamming because they know they can get away with it.

7. Spammers Don’t have Interesting Bios

Really? Spammers describe themselves as they want to be seen. Often their Twitter bios are better and more creative than yours!

8. Spammers Don’t Chat With People

Absolutely they do…sometimes real conversation, sometimes ambiguous statements, but they have become smarter, remember? These are the same people that send you DMs to retweet every post they write, or to join their facebook page, or to watch their latest video. There can even be a real person behind that spam account that likes you, but their content is driving you crazy with numerous ads, sponsored tweets, and links to spammy services that claim to make you wealthy, healthy and smarter. Never forget, Nigerian bank scammers are nice to you too!

9. My Friends Would Never Spam Me

I bet I can prove you wrong. How about your friends that retweet every shout-out sent to them? How about your friends that suddenly have their accounts hooked up to a feed of every article from twenty different news sites? How about your friends that schedule tweets around the clock from their own site? How about your friends that are so desperate for page views that they will tweet the same articles from their site over and over and over again just in case the five people in Timbuktu have not seen it yet?

And how about the people that have scheduled every quote ever spoken and keep their feeds going day and night? Or the saddest spam of all, people who retweet themselves from their dog’s account, or their business account, or any extra account they set up and asked you to follow. It’s one thing to share content on more than one account, it’s another to pretend the other account retweeted you all by itself! Think about it, your friends are spamming you and making twitter harder and harder and harder to navigate fresh and current content.

10. It’s Easy To Spot A Person Unworthy of Trust

Really? Many people have been fooled on twitter.  I personally have been lied to,  promised payments I never received, and made friends with people that have taken advantage of my kindness. Some of these people have tens of thousands of followers. I guarantee you are following many of these “nice” spammers now. You can not and will not ever be able to determine a person deserving of trust by exchanging a few words of kindness online, especially if their kind tweets are surrounded by spam or old content of any kind.

So how do you decide who to follow when everything you have been taught to look for on a twitter account is suddenly wrong again? You have to pay closer attention. You have to look at the overall user and what they have done so far.  No photo, tweet or friendship can determine a good person to follow. It’s  a unique blend of conversation, current tweet topics,  and a feeling that the person behind those tweets is a real unique individual that creates daily unique content that you are interested in following. And even then if you make a mistake and follow a spammer, unfollow as quickly as possible to bring back the good curated content to make your twitter experience better than ever!

Comments

12 Responses to “Top 10 Myths About Twitter Spam Accounts”
  1. Who cares if it’s a “spammer” if you like what they have to say? Sounds like you can’t tell the difference anyways and besides, “real” people talk about stupid things on Twitter all day. I’d rather follow a “spammer” that has something interesting to say than a real person who only talks about what they ate for breakfast or how much they hate their job…. just sayin.

    • BuzzEdition says:

      To each their own. I would never begin to think my way is the only way. And I fully expect people to do what makes them happy. On the other hand, when I check my twitter feed, and dozens of my “friends” shoot out the same article at the same time via a feed, and it’s a story I know they never would have tweeted if they had read the article, it makes my experience on twitter less enjoyable.

      I enjoy seeing what people tweet…when they specifically pick out the best content….or even when they tweet out a random joke or a photo of something really yummy. If they don’t even know what they have tweeted that day…it spams my feed…and in my opinion , that’s wrong.

      Your opinion may differ…and that’s ok ;-)

  2. Jake Kern says:

    I read this & it breaks my heart because by your definition that includes auto-content, I am a spammer. I deal with depression & I’ve found Tumblr to be a cathartic form of still engaging online even (especially) when I don’t have anything upbeat to say. My tumblr feed is filled with pictures of beauty that move me. I fed it into my Twitter & Facebook accounts as a way to share this with my friends. I actually set up my tumblr queue because I found that I was flodding the stream with all of my posts. Irony is that I didn’t want to spam people’s accounts because I was reposting so much. The queue made it so that there wasn’t a flood of posts and that my posts were spaced evenly through the day.

    I lost some followers on Twitter, but I found that for each follower I lost, I had 10 people telling me how much my posts were moving them, too. In fact, I’ve gained followers who are into scenic photography and heard about my account…I’ve actually gained more followers than I lost.

    I also have a lot of conversations on Twitter, but I’m careful to start each tweet with “@[twitteraccount]” so it wouldn’t pollute the streams of people not involved in the conversations. I’ve also stopped doing Follow Fridays to create less clutter and stress.

    I see things like this article, and it makes me want to just commit digital suicide by cancelling ALL of my social media accounts so I’m not bothering people anymore. Like I said, I deal with depression, and I’ve learned to not make big decisions in times when I’m experiencing a depressive moment.

    I’m thinking of creating a new Twitter account, posting that account name in the beginning of all of my Tumblr posts, and telling people to follow that account if they still want to see the Tumblr posts. That way it has a built-in filter so it doesn’t bleed into everyone’s stream. I don’t know…I just don’t know what to do. This article has really disturbed me because I don’t want to be a bother to people, and I definitely don’t want to be a spammer…I really don’t know what to do with this…

    • BuzzEdition says:

      Jake

      Sharing content across networks is not a bad thing, whether you are sharing a few pics from tumblr or shots from any other photo account. The feeds I speak of are like when a person doesn’t even know what they are tweeting. They have blind feeds of every article from dozens of blogs and websites.

      The best way I can think of to clarify is that if you know what you are tweeting, and it’s fresh…not retweeted over and over, to me that’s not spammy.

      Basically if you have to look at your twitter page at the end of the day to see what you tweeted about that day…it’s a problem. Content should be curated…and chosen carefully. Therefore if you are choosing each photo you share, you are not spamming.If you start tweeting each photo over and over…then it would be back to spammy again.

      Hope that makes sense.

      ~hugs~
      Susan

      • Jake Kern says:

        Thanks so much for the clarification and for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful way. I definitely choose each pic with care and sift through hundreds of photos that are uninteresting at best & offensive at worst to find the ones that are special to me. I feel a LOT better about this now. :)

        ~hugs~
        Jake

        • BuzzEdition says:

          Curating content is what I think makes twitter or any social media account special. That’s what you do…and I appreciate you, and your friendship.

          ~Hugs~
          Susan

    • Alia says:

      Jake, I wouldn’t read too far into it. Whilst there are some relevant points in the article, it doesn’t apply to everyone. Auto posting can be a great way of delivering content so your overseas followers can hear from you too.

      Some people deliberately abuse the system. Spammers who spam for commercial or other reasons are the worst. Others are just people who like to post alot. Sure, Most people don’t necessarily want to see that the last 20 posts in a row are all from the one person, so spacing them out gives ppl a breather.

      If you are worried about spamming if you might want to set up a separate account for your twitter or tumblr pictures and keep the other personal. I suggest you interact on the images one still so it isn’t just link after link after link. That way you can perhaps tailor the tumblr images to people who like photos, inspiration, may also like some eye candy if they too are feeling blue etc. you can build up targeted followers in both accounts because by having specific accounts for each use/interest (ie: personal account & image account) you will have less chance of alienating people who aren’t interested in seeing streams of tumblr pix.

      Good luck with the depression. I wish you all the best. And it’s a wise decision not to act when in a depression.

  3. i wrote an article on this. it seems that one person’s definition of spam is another’s attempt to get their blog seen by and read by others. To Wit, some would say this tweet is spam:

    AnnTran_

    Top 10 Myths About Twitter Spam Accounts: http://bit.ly/lQJs0f by @buzzedition || RT @TweetSmarter @walterm

    i have read articles that imply multiple end user #FF tweets are all spam, and the only way to do #FF is to tweet one time, one person, IE: #FF @EndUser … that is all. anything else is spam. and this same cabel of ppl think Twitter will put an end to the multiple person tweet and by some hedged reading of some official blog post by Twitter they have convinced themselves that the multiple person end user tweet is spam.’

    still others think that tweeting about your own blog is spam. others that promoting anything of any kind is spam…..

    by some definitions then, someone repeatedly saying: “Please Help!!! My Son is Lost in the Mall, Pls Help Now!!” Over and Over is in fact by Twitter’s definition spam, because it “repeats the same phrase over and over in an attempt to favor a certain site or outcome”

    frankly, i know of one self styled twitter “diva” who in my opinion is a complete air head thinks you should say “hello” and run through some kind of “manners course” before communicating with her… quite bizarre really.

    i have met and conversed with serial unfollowers who collectively yet individually to a person when confronted why they have followed, then unfollowed, have said “You are spammy” meanwhile they play their nefarious in the dark of night games of following then unfollowing, which is contrary to Twitters rules but apparantly overlooked.

    my last example proves a point. we managed an account we’ll call it “MakeMoneyOnline” simply to prove how judgemental ppl can be. a certain twitter person reported the account immediately as spam, and twitter did nothing. because there were no “repetitious tweeting of the same phrase or link over and over again” … later, we changed the name and put a dog’s picture on the account, and the same lady, forgetting she’d reported the acct as spam followed back, and must have been a dog lover, because she conversed quite freely w that acct. so it proves that people judge spam, not by the content, but by their perception of what spam is, which could be anything.

    in conclusion, spam is repeatedly tweeting the same phrase over and over to game the search engines or to force an outcome. it is not “selling goods” or get rich schemes. just because you or I do not like “get rich schemes” does not make it spam.

    Editor Author Sarcastic Sam tweets @Samuel_Clemons

  4. Petra says:

    Hmm good question is, how many real accounts is on Twitter these days?

  5. Mary Sarah says:

    Some of my best friends are spammers. They respond so much better than immature teenage boys! he he….

  6. I so just tweeted this page a few moments ago.
    I may truly be totally blind since birth, but oh does this cat get around.
    Feel froggy to follow me on Twitter? Yes, I’m legit.
    Follow BlindHedgehog.
    BTW, as a small side note, using FireFox 13 to write this.
    Wow, this browser makes oh so much more cents (no, sense, dummy) then I.E. ever will!
    Especially with this Noise addon that plays different sounds when particular FireFox events happen; More events can be added later at will.

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