One of the advantages of working for company that prides itself in social media management is constantly being challenged by the advancements taking place, even the questionable ones. By questionable, I mean the advancements made by spammers. Take Twitter as an example. It wasn’t until the last 6 months that I even found a use for Twitter in my life. It represented an annoyance I couldn’t figure out and questioned why it even existed. Heck, I’m still mostly convinced it’s just a bunch of computers talking to each other since very little human interaction seems to go on. Still, Dwight told me I was wrong. And while it used to be easy to spot Twitter spammers while assisting our clients with their social media needs, even that’s become increasingly difficult.

Just as they did in John Carpenter’s They Live, spammers have come to mimic everybody else. They look like your hot next door neighbor—not mine…mine are…well, ick—and they interact with people. Well, sort of. One thing I’m seeing in terms of spammers starts with their direct messages to me. They either thank me for following them and direct me to a site—which I don’t click on—direct message me and act like they’re picking up on a conversation that hasn’t taken place while directing me to a site—which I don’t click on—or use a hash tag in a tweet with my name that makes me think we’ve interacted while also directing me to a site. And I don’t click on it. Either way, I don’t click on it and while I’m prone to wanting to simply ignore those kinds of messages, I’ll actually get curious and click on their profile for a closer look.

Their profile is usually decently written and their picture legitimate looking, so the proof in the pudding is actually in their tweets. It looks like there’s interaction because of all the hash tags, but it’s not. Not really. Nobody is responding to them and if they are, it’s typically another spammer’s computer. The messages are also all business and very little personality. Any profile I see with a tweet history like that is automatically unfollowed and blacklisted—yes, I keep a list.

Some of them are advancing even beyond this. I received a reply to a tweet I sent out and the response seemed genuine, so I responded back. The next response had nothing to do, really, with mine, so I questioned it. “What does that have to do with my reply?” The message that came back suggested confusion at what I’d said and asked if I could rephrase it so that it was more easily understood. Yes, I was talking to a computer that was sending out random responses meant to engage people, only if it didn’t understand something, it queried the person. Buggars!

There’s no real easy way to rid yourself of this kind of garbage, but I do have a few suggestions. I take 5-10 minutes a day and just read (at random times) tweets and if I see this kind of “do you want more followers?,” “want more money?” or, my favorite, “want to please her more?”—pal, know your audience here because it’s never going to happen—I unfollow them and don’t feel the least bit bad about it. Then, during the weekend, I’ll go through my latest followers, click on their profiles and see if anything is amiss. If it is? Sayonara!

How do you tame these temptresses of the Twitter tweets?

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