Folks, I’ve tried to stay out of this, as I know my opinion isn’t popular, but I just can’t take it any more. Over the last few weeks, I’ve increasingly seen the term “spammer” used to describe some users on Twitter. That’s true despite the fact that you’ll never see a single tweet (post) unless you choose to follow that person, and moreoever, that nobody can even follow you unless you give permission. In my view, the whole thing is paranoid almost beyond belief.
Sure, it’s annoying to get e-mail notifications that someone is following you if you don’t consider the follower to be welcome. And yes, I can imagine a world in which we Twitter users (I’m @annezieger) are swamped with thousands of followers, which effectively translates into e-mail spam since the notifications land in our inbox. (I do hope Twitter’s management is prepared for that eventuality, and has tough enough security in place to prevent mass follows by creepy folks.) So I understand why people are concerned.
That being said, why on earth has a segment of the Twitter community decided that virtually any follows by corporate Twitterers (say, @JetBlue) constitute spamming?
What right has any one segment of the Twitterati to decide that they, alone, know how many people you should follow and how many must follow you if you’re to be a “legit” Twitter user? (What, you didn’t know that the Twitter clique plans to ostracize you if you follow too many folks and they don’t follow back? Well, guess what, they do.)
And how dare some self-appointed zealot(s) create a Twitter “blacklist” which purports to protect me from undesirables? I’m quite offended by the idea. OK, I realize that some people are thrilled to ‘make the list’ and dub it a piece of cheap PR for them, but I doubt the list’s creators had that in mind.
You know, we went through this whole thing almost 15 years ago or so when the Internet started being swamped by commercial interests. (Remember Canter & Siegel spamming Usenet in 1994?) People went insane and started turning on each other in much the same way we’re seeing today–and look how effective that was! E-mail spam disappeared for good, right? (Uh, not exactly.)
Haven’t we learned anything from the experiences of the last decade and a half? If the first wave of spam showed us anything, it taught us that you can’t change a medium by lashing out at people who use it in ways you don’t approve of–it’s a waste of time and often, changes the character of the medium in ways that do significant damage.
Please, please, let’s be smarter when it comes to Twitter? — Anne
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