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