Will Twitter’s New Spam Policy Kill #FollowFriday?
About a month ago, Twitter slyly rolled out a new spam policy that will help declutter our feeds and hopefully get rid of annoying posts like this.
We are all familiar with them and probably have spent considerable amount of time doing one of several things: (1) ingoring them (2) blocking and reporting these people as spam or, if you’re like my whackjob mother @ShellyKramer, you’re (3) blocking, reporting to spam and publicly calling them out as spammers. What can I say – she’s easily annoyed. I’ve learned to pretty much not mess with her.
One big issue that has sprung up with these policy change is whether #FollowFriday can survive. Why? We’ll get to that in a bit.
Kim Castleberry pointed out on her blog that Twitter’s spam policy had apparently changed. She found this out when she got a message from Twitter saying, “This account has been suspended for sending multiple unsolicited messages using the @reply and/or mention feature.” In reality, she was chatting with members of one of the her online communities. It appears the spam policy has been changed to target people who post something like:
@Annoyingly @Long @List @Of @Names + http://somelinkthatnowlookssuspicious.com
Twitter’s spam policy states that you will be under scrutiny if you send large numbers of duplicate @replies or mentions or if you send large groups of unsolicited @replies or mentions. So if both are these are generally perceived as tacky, is it such a bad thing? Is it so terrible that the current iteration of #FF could be a thing of the past?
Smart people, like Gini Dietrich, argue that if you are serious about doing #FollowFriday then @dropping @bunch @of @people @in @a @list – isn’t the way to do it. It is annoying and impersonal which is counterintuitive to the whole idea behind #FF.
Other smart people, like aforementioned mother unit, think that sending large numbers of @replies or mentions is nothing short of lazy and is ecstatic as a result of these new changes. For her, having someone say:
“Good Morning @oneperson @anotherperson @anotherperson @anotherperson”
means just one thing. And it’s not good. For her, that behavior implies that you are too flipping lazy to make time to say “Good Morning @ShellyKramer” and want to be efficient with your tweetage, time, etc. Which really is kind of lame, when you think about it. Who wants someone to walk into a room and say “Hi Bob, Sara, Joe, Tom, Susie and Melissa” instead of just greeting you individually? Count me in the camp that would prefer a personal convo any day.
Perhaps this policy change – although not clearly defined – is a good impetus for change for Twitter users. It will not only help us keep spammers out of our Twitter feeds, but hopefully it will also revive a better version of #FollowFriday.
As a bonus, if people actually started talking more with one another, instead of hitting the Easy (Lazy) Button, what would be the downside? A few extra seconds each day actually being engaged in one-on-one conversation? Seems like a big potential upside to me. I suppose it’s not entirely unlikely that I’d look at it that way. Frighteningly enough, I have noticed that I’m becoming more and more my mother’s daughter. Holy crap, am I ever in trouble!
What do you think about the spam policy? Will impact how you communicate during #FF and/or if you’ve long moved past #FF, how about how it might impact how you communicate with communities you belong to? Will it change the way you “talk” with your friends on Twitter? Do you love it? Hate it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.