What Constitutes Tweet Spam?
Asking lots of questions this week, and hearing some interesting thoughts–today let’s talk about spam on Twitter. What constitutes tweet spam in your eyes, and what’s simply good old marketing? This issue has been on my mind for a while, ever since Dave Fleet’s post on Guy Kawasaki and ghost-tweeting (my issue being “should someone who constantly self-links via tweets really be calling out someone else on ethics using the same tool?”).
I’m especially interested to hear what you think about:
- Self-linking to your own blog posts
- Automated tweets
Here are some of my thoughts:
Links are a beautiful thing, aren’t they? But only if they’re deserved. I can’t take any issue with basic link-backs (interlinking related articles on your blog, linking your company site to your blog, links in a press release or article credit, etc.). That’s just natural, and those kinds of links add real value to the reader.
What I don’t like are spammy links like those I often see on Twitter – where someone feels a need to link in a tweet to every single blog post they publish. Look, if people really give that much of a damn about your blog, they’ll subscribe to your feed. They don’t need what really amounts to a manual feed coming through Twitter as well. It’s obnoxious. It’s like screaming “Look at me! Look at me! I said something new and I’m so uber important I just knew you couldn’t wait another minute for it!” Yuck.
I only follow a few folks who do this. Unfortunately they’re people I otherwise respect who should frankly know better (plenty I have no respect for at all do it as well–I just make it a point not to follow them). It’s gotten to the point where a few of these people post more link spam garbage than truly valuable tweets.
I thought the supposed beauty of Twitter was the ability to hold immediate multi-party conversations in a forcibly concise way. Linking to your own posts isn’t about conversation–not on Twitter at least. The bulk of blog conversations happen directly on the blog. To me that means those links (when self-serving) are little more than traffic-generation tools without any real thought behind them. That makes them spam in my book (on par with press releases put out solely for backlinks, which is disgustingly common).
Released an interesting report of value to more than just your regular blog readers? Cool. Tweet it. Real news about that site or blog? OK. Tweet that too. But linking just to link gets pretty pathetic pretty quickly. What do you think about constant self-linking via Twitter?
For the most part, my thoughts on automated tweets are simply SPAM! I don’t follow people using them. That said, I’m open to the thought that there might be limited non-spam uses of tweet automation (such as a Web hosting provider offering automated server status updates to customers or someone subscribing to automated weather updates especially during severe storm warnings and such).
Spam is all about solicitation. When I follow someone, I’m soliciting their thoughts–not constant links to their own content that I can easily follow elsewhere, and not posts from a bot of any kind (unless I knowingly subscribe for automated updates). Anything else, to me, is spam. The beauty is that you can always (well usually) unfollow someone. But just as an unsubscribe link in an email isn’t necessarily enough to say it’s not spam, is an unfollow button on Twitter? I’ll leave it to your thoughts….
For Further Enlightenment
- Here Comes Twitter Spam and How to Fight It
- Don’t Spam Twitter with Forced Tweets
- Will Search & Reply Spam be Twitter’s End?
- Twitter Spam Already Annoying Some Users
- Twitter Spam Not Likely to Kill Twitter