The Devolution of Twitter
The creators of Twitter will tell you that they didn’t know what the hell it was for when they released it. They created a way to send a txt message to the world and watched to see how people would use it.
Like several people I’ve dated, Twitter is fast and easy. The microblogging and public text-chat format is perfect for sharing links, updating status, asking questions or blurting out random props that don’t require the treatment of a fully-formed blog post. Way back in Feb 2009, I guessed what twitter might evolve into.
Unfortunately, twitter didn’t evolve. It devolved.
Automatic for the Tweeple
Automation is one of the cool things twitter had going for it. The open-source platform allows companies like youtube, myspace, facebook and others to tie in to your twitter account and auto-post tweets for you. In fact, this blog post here at conradzero.com will auto-post a link to twitter through the twitterfeed service. Saves me the time and effort of doing it myself. Coolness, right?
Automation is one of the suck things that is killing twitter. The open-source platform allows people to upload a spreadsheet of 10,000 senseless posts which automatically post to twitter on a schedule of about once per second. While the posts on twitter were already nearly mindless bits of fluff, now accounts drown twitter in completely mindless bits of fluff. The goal of these New Media Spambags is to post as many times as inhumanly possible. Post more = get seen more. Get seen more = get followed more. More followers = bigger market for your advertising messages.
Does this work? Of course it does.
Does it suck? Of course it does.
And of course, twitter only encourages that you follow people with lots of followers, because…that’s how you get more followers.
Invasion of The New Media Spambags
Of course the people who wreck almost all online things are those who REALLY REALLY want to sell you something. Whether their product is good or not is irrelevant – getting it out in front of people is all they care about. Using the automation I mentioned before, these Twitter Spambags stream continual posts – jokes, quotes, facts… and of course, repeated references to their product.
These are the same douchebags who use e-mail SPAM to sell their products. The idea is the same; a high volume of public contact will lead to a small percentage of click-thru, which leads to an even smaller percentage of sales. The higher the quantity of contact, the larger the number of click-thru, the larger the number of sales.
I’ve included a screenshot of just such a Twitter Spambag. No particular reason I’m picking on this person, there’s thousands of profiles just like this one. But here’s some tips on how to spot a Spambag in the wild.
First, note the frequency of posts. No human can write consistent posts like this every three minutes (Exactly three minutes apart, mind you.)
Second, note the content of the posts. Two tweets of generic quotes or factoids, then every third post is a link to a “Make Money Now” page. Because links take up part of the precious 140 character twitter-post limit, services are used to shorten the post down to a smaller size. Because of the shortening, the links are hidden and you can’t see where they go until you click on them. But notice that the link in the first post is repeated in the last post. If you scrolled down the list of tweets, you would see this particular Spambag alternating between two links over and over.
Third, note where the posts originate. In this case, they all come from API, meaning they are being sent through a third-party service. Likely, an automated one.
This is another spam artist turning the new social media into a quagmire of auto-babble. Is this illegal? Of course not. But it’s also not illegal for people like this to starve to death because no one buys their shit.
#TwitterRebellion – Block the Twitter Spambags
If no one clicked on the SPAM e-mails and if no one clicked their links and if no one bought the crap they sell, e-mail SPAM would stop. E-mail SPAMmers only continue to send e-mail SPAM because it works.
If no one followed the Spambags on Twitter and no one clicked their links, twitter spam would stop. Twitter Spambags only continue to spam twitter because it works.
Why follow Spambags? It’s time to take Twitter back to the Tweeple. But how?
Simple. Block the fucking spambags.
If you see someone you’re following post once per minute of all hours, check their profile page and look through their tweets. If they are interlacing mindless quotes and jokes between links to their snake oil, Use the “Block and Report SPAM” feature. If enough people call a spammer on their BS, their account will be pulled, and you will have done a great public service.
It’s not hard to tell a human from a Spambag. Follow the humans. Block the spambags. Rebel and take back twitter!