I hate Fridays. Not only is it one of the busiest nights at Fangtasia, but my Twitter stream/timeline is flooded with spam. And to make matters worse, it’s not even good spam!
If you are new to, or unfamiliar with, Twitter, you may be wondering what spam I am referring to. Chances are, if you have been around Twitter for more than a month, you have already guessed.
I am talking about #FF and #lazyshoutouts.
There is nothing inherently wrong with either of these practices. In fact, I do a handful or two of #FF myself, to those I interact the most with or whose storylines I find particularly interesting.
No, I am referring to those people who flood my stream with endless lists of names. Nothing but names and a hashtag. That’s it.
What is the point of that? If I wanted to look at the list of people you follow or who follow you, I would look at your profile. You don’t have to clutter up my stream with them. In fact, I would rather you didn’t.
The reason I call such #FF and #lazyshoutouts lists bad spam is simple: they don’t work. Each time I see someone sending out block after block of them, that person gets closer to getting unfollowed and blocked. This is especially true for those who seem to do nothing else on Fridays but send out lists of names or who I don’t see interacting with others in my stream at any other time.
Don’t misunderstand me. I love my followers and knowing that they think others should follow me as well. I enjoy meeting people and making new friends. I also think it is important to publicly appreciate those people I interact with or just watch on a regular basis. I also love knowing the names of everyone involved in a particular SL because, unless it is an SL I am involved with, I don’t always know or follow all the players.
But enough criticism. Everyone is familiar with the problem. The question is: what do we do about it?
Start by giving people a reason to follow someone. Tell them why you follow that person. Suggest reasons they might want to. And “great peeps”, “True Blood RP”, and similar descriptions are not enough. Give me personal reasons. After all, if you want me to act on your opinion and follow someone, you should have the courage to express an opinion, shouldn’t you? Or is everyone that afraid I’ll bite *smirks*?
If you have a list of more than say…a dozen people, post it to your blog or FB page or even put it in a twitlonger post and send a link instead. You could even have a friend ask you who you like to follow and answer the question with a list on formspring. If you want to pimp your entire Follow list, send out that link. And again, include reasons for me not just to check out your link but also to follow the people you list. Start a #FF or Follow Friday list on Twitter that I can follow, too. DO NOT send out more than a dozen tweets of nothing but names.
The obvious exception to the above is group owners and admins. Part of their role is to promote their group and its members. I would love to see some reasons added to the lists these folks send out but I do understand why they send out blocks of names without offering any reasons. I don’t like it and I question how effective it is at promoting either the group or it’s members, but I understand it.
If you do create a list, whether it’s on Twitter or your blog, keep it up-to-date. As your relationships evolve, people will be added or drop off. Your reasons for following someone will change. Your list should reflect that.
Finally, don’t forget to thank those people who do pimp you, whether it’s through an individual #FF tweet or including you on a list. It is a compliment, even when it’s spam. They don’t have to do it. You could, however, take the opportunity to set a good example (or maybe warn others who the spammers are) by giving your reasons for following them. Just a thought.
Fridays should not be a day anyone dreads. Let’s stop the spam and show some real appreciation for those who make TBRP on Twitter and elsewhere such a vibrant, creative and FUN community.