The speed of social media these days is defined by Twitter. Breaking news: Twitter. Controversy: Twitter. Meme, Viral, Breaking: Twitter. So if Twitter is the heartbeat of social media, why are so many self-proclaimed, social media, rockstars abusing Twitter like spammers used to abuse email? I guess there are two answers.
First Answer: They are spamming Twitter because they can. There are no CANN-Spam laws for Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest, yet.
Second Answer: They are making money doing it.
Okay, so I’ve flogged this dead horse over and over again. I’ve been in Twitter battles with Guy Kawasaki over his spammy tweeting practices for over 5 years. Last time he actually did something to change his ways. Back in 2009 when I went after @guykawasaki for his spammy tweets he started a new Twitter account and started a thread that was only him.
All the ghost tweeters still hammered his 1.4 million followers, but for a while, we were given a glimpse of Guy’s actual tweets. The mind of Guy Kawasaki is an amazing thing. It’s too bad the account languished and once again Guy has numerous people tweeting to his monster account. And they are tweeting gibberish. It’s like the Buzzfeed of Twitter. Nothing of Guy’s zen wisdom left unless you count the spammy tweets offering his books for sale.
It is really too bad when one of the original evangelists, evangelists for good, for guerrilla marketing, for doing the right thing, has dropped off into some black hat social media practices. And of course, he will tell you, and me, that he can tweet however he likes. And he’s right. Each of us has an opportunity to unfollow him. And that’s what he suggests if you disagree with him. But when he also feels the need to BLOCK you, something else is at play.
Why would he kill my ability to follow his tweets? What’s he hiding? Blocking is not really an efficient way of keeping me from seeing what he’s doing, but it pulled his tweets out of my Trust Agents column on Tweetdeck. And that’s to bad. He’s ashamed of being called out, yet again, for his spammy practices. And his inability to articulate his honest strategy, because he’s essentially a spam-bot, is the only reason I can imagine that he would block me. Forbid me from following his firehose of uber-wisdom. (sarcasm)
On the other hand, my other pawn of Social Spam, @chrisbrogan, wrote the frackin book on being trustworthy and spam-free. But today, even quoting his own book back at him causes him to demure and then BLOCK. What? I’m so confused. I mean, we had a dialogue about it. His 250,000+ followers are only getting his half of the story. And at the end of it he thanks me for the “conversation” and then pulls the biggest cowardly move of all. Why BLOCK me if you’re proud of how you are behaving? Maybe he’s concerned that if I see his tweets in my Trust Agent column of Tweetdeck, I will start to think of him as mostly human again. I don’t know, but I was disappointed when he blocked me. It felt like he also was accepting his own shame and trying to do his part to keep me from seeing and reporting on his continued spammy ways.
Okay, Chris. Okay, Guy. You guys are model citizens and social media leaders. How do you plead? (Silence, of course, because they’ve blocked me and thus cannot follow me either.)
As we ramp up towards SXSW, perhaps we can work up a panel, to debate Twitter Spam. Or maybe Twitter Sniping with @omarg? There are plenty of egregious practices being used in social media. But when the leaders and journalists behave badly, it’s as if they are showing us the way. Do Guy and Chris believe we should all queue up robo-tweets weeks in advance? Maybe they do. Do they also see “Buy my book here” tweeted 10 times a day for 100 days as a service to their followers? Maybe they do. Maybe, as they would like to say, their followers don’t want to miss any awesome tidbit of 140c wisdom they are putting down. Maybe.
But if we all started following Guy and Chris’s lead, well we’d have a spammier Twitter stream than we do now. Let’s see: If it looks like spam, smells like spam, and behaves like spam, maybe it’s spam.
I welcome the retort or rebuttal by either gentleman. Or any of the Guy and Chris faithful who think their mentors are doing nothing wrong, you are welcome to let me have it. I know I’m getting it wrong, somehow. And as they say, in Twitter-Spam-Land, “If you don’t like it unfollow me. If I don’t like it, I’ll BLOCK you.”
I guess that’s fair. It’s not honest. It’s not trustworthy. It’s BS. But it’s the reality these days. And it’s a shame that these two leaders are such cowards in revealing the benefit and strategy behind their spam-tweet-blitzkrieg.
Tell them or me what you think:
John McElhenney — let’s connect online
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