Sunday 15 September 2013

Taking advantage of spammers on Twitter

I really hate spam and when I get spamish followers on Twitter I don't follow back. Can you make use of them though? Yes you can. Here's an extract from a guide I'm working on:

How Twitter posts work

Whenever you go to Twitter you see a snapshot of recent tweets. As the number of people you follow grows that snapshot becomes a tiny window through which you look at a huge panorama. You will not see the vast majority of the tweets people you follow post. Neither will your followers see most of your tweets unless you put their twitter username in the post. 
My Twitter friend Aaron Hatman - @aaronhatman probably won’t see a post like this:
‘New topless Rhianna picture! (pic)’
 (For those of you who are shocked – it’s not quite what you think).
Aaron would see it if it was posted as:
 ‘@aaronhatman New topless Rhianna picture! (pic)’
 Even if Aaron is not using Twitter when the post is made he will see it when he clicks ‘@Connect’ on the Twitter toolbar.

Not only will Aaron see the post but it will also appear on the Twitter feed of anyone who follows Aaron and that’s useful! (Dirty Twitter trick coming up)

Twitter Spammers

Some Twitter users set out to build a huge Twitter following by following everyone they come across, waiting a few days and un-following all those who have not followed them back. If they run out of follow rights then they make space by un-following even those who have followed back. These people just want followers – they are not interested in taking part in conversations in the Twitter community. Once they have built up thousands of followers they will usually start posting nothing but links to products for sale – Twitter spamming. 

Dirty Twitter Trick

If you identify such a person is now following you - let's say their Twitter handle is @selfishtweep - don’t follow them back – respond to their following message with a message such as:
‘Thanks for the follow @selfishtweep. Check out my pyramid #technothriller
Stones,Stars & Solutions

Not only will this appear on their feed but it will also appear on your feed as an 'un-spamish' post and the feeds of all those who search for @selfishtweep. 

Now the question is 'Is this ethical or am I adding to Twitter spam?' What do you think?


  1. In my experience, many "spammers" are inexperienced marketers who received bad advice. I ignore or report those I identify as spammers rather than engaging with them. (For example, I will report a new account that sends off-topic @ tweets to non-followers. These tweets usually contain links to malware.)

    My Twitter strategy has evolved over the years, but I have always cared more about whether I am connecting with real people than whether I appear to be a celebrity. I understand that many real people want a follow back, and the practice of unfollowing tweeps who do not follow back does not strike me as spamming. If I am not interested in a follower's content, I will not follow back, and my feelings will not be hurt if I then lose that follow.

    As for those who follow until I follow back and then unfollow me, I do not have time to find and care about them. In the past, I have run an app to unfollow non-followers, but it has been many months, perhaps even years, since I have bothered. I can filter Twitter to show me what I want to see, so I do not worry about culling whom I follow. I prefer to be choosier about following in the first place.

    Tweeting new followers a link to your book would look spammy/inexperienced to me. I am not judging you just calling it as I see it. Also, if I saw your example in my stream, I might presume that is how you greet all new followers.

  2. In that case the tweet might be better as '@selfishtweep Thanks for the follow. You might want to check out my pyramid #technothriller'. Such a tweet would only be seen by @selfishtweep and those who follow him.