Footnotes: Off-topic odds and ends about Twitter spam

Back in December I received a tweet simply saying “Hey, can I see your feet?”

Eww.

Even "cute" baby feet make me shudder at the sight of them.

Even "cute" baby feet make me shudder at the sight of them.

Little known personal fact: I HATE feet. I think people with foot fetishes are the most sexually disgusting people in the world (besides pedophiles and rapists, of course). Worse than people with foot fetishes are people with foot fetishes that have the nerve to ask someone on Twitter if they can aid in their twisted fantasy. Of course, before I hit the block button, I had to view his 160-character bio. It read “Sean. Foot Lover. I’m new to this thing, but I love beautiful feet. A lot.”

I repeat…eww.

Fast forward to last week. Once again, I had a tweet from the SAME SICK EXCUSE FOR A MAN, asking me to show him my feet. I’m pretty sure his Twitter name was different, and the bio most certainly was. This new and improved description cut right to the point; all it said was “FOOT LOVER.” Once again, the Block and Report Spam button was utilized.

Anyone active in the Twitterverse is susceptible to Twitter spam. At this point, spammers don’t usually phase me. As a sports person, I get sports spammers all the time, as well as other randoms. I just block them and forget who they are the next day. FOOT LOVER took Twitter spam to new heights. As creepy and extreme as it was, he got me thinking: Do people new to Twitter understand what is spam and what is just a friendly follow?

Someone naive to the Twitter game might have found FOOT LOVER so terrifying that it drove them to put that little padlock next to their name (this is called making your Tweets private). While creepers like him are repulsive, don’t go hiding your personal brand behind closed doors just yet!

Those of us who are overactive on the medium can tell you it isn’t as scary as it seems. The site actually has an extensive help center to ease some of your concerns. There, you can find all the boundaries and signs of Twitter abuse, as well as how to detect a spammer and keep yourself from being a spammer. Key spammer trademarks include:

  • Tweets that almost always consist of links, rather than personal updates
  • Automated responses to a particular mention
  • Users who follow thousands but have few followers and even fewer tweets
  • Users who post others’ tweets as their own
  • Unrelated tweets to a trending topic, even though they use that topic’s hashtag
  • Tweets which consistently are false or misleading
  • Users without a picture (Not always the case, but it’s more common for spammers to be image-free than real people)
  • People with names like hottseXXXiibabe are known as porn spammers. I know some of you gentlemen (and maybe some of you ladies) new to Twitter might be fooled into thinking someone like this has something of value to show you, but they don’t. So block them. NOW!

I find the tone of Twitter’s spam section to be more of a “you know you’re a spammer if…” That right there should deter people from venturing into spam territory, yet it still happens. Kind of like the show “To Catch a Predator,” known as #TCAP in the Twitterverse. We all know the show exists, yet pedophiles still try to meet up with children they met in chat rooms, not thinking their faces might be plastered all of TV the next day. Social media guru Jeff Hester put together a pretty good spread of typical spammer profiles. Is “To catch a spammer” in the future? One can only hope.

A graphic from the Twitter blog explaining the decline in spam as Twitter has grown in popularity

A graphic from the Twitter blog explaining the decline in spam as Twitter has grown in popularity

Twitter does its part in trying to minimize the spam crowd, but its never really going to disappear. I’m sure it will be a matter of time before FOOT LOVER resurfaces and asks me his favorite question. By knowing the difference between spammers, creepers and people who really care what we have to say, we can save ourselves the frustrating dilemma of determining who’s worthy of our micro-blogging skills. So don’t be afraid to be yourself. Despite the pests out there, Twitter can be a lot less sketchy than the rest of the Internet and can be of huge benefit to your brand, personal or professional.

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4 responses to “Footnotes: Off-topic odds and ends about Twitter spam

  1. Interesting note. And although urban dictionary defines podophobia (not to be confused with pedophilia which is the fear of children) as an irrational fear of feet it states that the individual that identifies with podophobia is not diseased and nothing is wrong with them. So the good news is that your fear may be irrational but nothing is “wrong” with you.

    On the other hand podophilia is the pronounced sexual interest of the feet and it is the most common form of sexual preference for otherwise non-sexual objects or body parts. And when I think of a foot fetish I can only think of the bachelorette and Tanner who had an intense foot fetish.

    I may not have a podophobia but I do find podophilia on the creepy side and freaked out a bit myself. And I do find the baby’s feet pictured above to be adorable.

  2. Very entertaining and informative post! Do you think that people who are new to the Twitterverse need to take extra precautionary measures to keep people from thinking they’re spammers, (since they have few followers and Tweets starting out)?

  3. Lol. Thanks Liana, for giving my hatred for feet a psychoanalysis.

    Jessica: I definitely think people new to Twitter should start by finding people they know, and following people who are relevant to what they talk about. Most of the people I follow and converse with are sports people and friends. I follow some celebrities and news sites, but those are set up to have a million followers. However, if someone follows me and is clearly a sports person, there is no way I’m going to block them. I also don’t think people should go haywire their first day on Twitter and start following hundreds of people before having more than a hundred tweets, because it makes them look like spammers, even if they aren’t intending to be.

  4. Pingback: Staying Motivated as You Build Your Online Presence « A Place in PR

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