As Twitter becomes more and more prominent in the everyday lives of internet users, it becomes a more appealing venue for spammers. Being a bit of a twitter addict myself, I have seen a steady increase of junk follows.
These junk follows, as I refer to them, are spam bots or people with an agenda at making money by convincing you to check out a particular page on the web. They may tell you about the “free laptop” or how they recently received a “check for X number of dollars”.
It doesn’t take more than a second to glance at this persons twitter profile to see what is going on. While you are on their page, why not dedicate another second of your time and scan the page for “Block” button. Once clicked, you are asked to confirm the action. Once you do, the user can no longer see your tweets and his follower count no longer reflects you as a statistic.
I take the same coarse of action if I see a new follower with dozens of links to themselves in their stream. While I think linking is great, I want to connect with my followers and see more than self-promotion throughout the day. I typically do not ban these people; I simply choose not to follow back.
This sometimes leads to another type of spam, which can be frustrating. On occasion these people will un-follow me then follow me back. This forces twitter to send me an email notification of the new follower. I could disable this, but I prefer the email notice so that I remember to check out the user.
In this event, I ignore the notice and continue business as usual. Some people may accidentally remove me from their follow list and choose to add me back in a couple of days. If I see a third email notice from a single user, I go straight to the block button and don’t think twice.
In the event that I receive a new follower with no updates, I check to see how many people they are following. If I see some familiar faces, such as @brianhewitt and @jcruz, I have a pretty good idea where this person got my user name from and assume they are a Stogie Review reader and I generally follow back.
At this point you have an understanding of how I determine a new follower as spam. If you have followed me, are not a spammer, but I have not followed back, one of two things happened:
- Your tweets didn’t spark and interest and compel me to follow back
- I overlooked the email notification and haven’t seen your twitter stream yet
The simplest way to get my attention in either case is to simply send me a tweet. Anything that starts with @waltw shows up in my replies stream via the web client. These tweets are also grabbed by Tweetdeck and brought to my attention. Once a connection is made and we share some dialog, I am far more likely to follow back.