Stop the Spam

Photo credit: buggolo on Flickr
As any of you who have been doing the social media thing for more than a week know, there is a certain four-lettered evil that lurks the waters of every social media site and attacks at seemingly random (and infuriating) intervals.

Yes, I’m talking about the boiling black evil that is spam.

I try to be an optimistic person and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when I receive spam from non-robot accounts. I say things like, well maybe they’re new or maybe they don’t realize that’s considered spam and I ignore the first offense. (The second offense, however, gets a healthy dose of the spam gun).

Look, I understand why well-intentioned people spam. I understand wanting more Twitter followers or more likes on your Facebook page or more exposure to your awesome blog or more sales of your book. I get it, honestly, I do. But there’s a right and wrong way to go about achieving those goals, and spamming people with links to said pages is definitely not the right way.

Now what exactly counts as spamming? some of you may be wondering. Behold the examples: 

  • Sending someone a link that they did not ask for = SPAM.

  • DMing someone a link that they did not ask for = SPAM.

  • Leaving a link to your blog/book/whathaveyou on someone’s blog/FBwall/whatever that they did not ask for = SPAM.

  • Tweeting about your book/blog/whateveritis = NOT SPAM (but if you overdo it, people may treat it as such anyway, so be careful).

When in doubt, if you want to share a link to your blog/Amazon page/FB, to someone who didn’t ask for it, don’t. It’s pretty simple.  

You see, the problem with spam is that it’s counter-productive, because when people see they’ve been spammed a link, more times than not they react the same way: by blocking you. Not only did they not open your link to see what you had to share, but now you’ve just blacklisted yourself, or at least left a bad impression.

The way to earn more followers or page views isn’t to spam people with links—it’s to earn more followers and page views by being genuine and supportive of others and creating great content worth sharing. Once you’ve done those things, you won’t need to spam because other people will be sharing your pages to their friends and followers for you. And trust me, it feels much better to have happy followers share your work than to try to peddle your pages on your own.

So go out there, be a good person, and stop the evil spread of spam. Your followers and page views will be glad that you did.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh on spam? Have you ever been happy about a link that was spammed to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 


Marina Maxwell said...

Those unwanted DMs annoy me to no end. I always want to reply to that link filled garbage with a note that says, "I just followed you on Twitter. Instead of a genuine thank you, you sent me spam. That's insulting." And you're right-it has the opposite effect. I never follow anyone's blog or like their FB pages after they send me that nonsense!

Ava Jae said...

I know exactly how you feel. I don't reply to spam, but I think many of us have felt the temptation to do so.

James Anderson said...

What brought this post on? Recent experience?

I agree with you. Spam is the scourge of the digital age and it is only going to get worse and worse until finally people will be able to ping you with remote satellite brainwave SPAM. Maybe we should be like Hawaii. They put all the SPAM they get on pizza. (dumb joke, and I'm rambling). *moving on*

The worst are spam text messages. I'm so sure I won a free iPad and you were so excited you had to text me about it. Besides I already won the Irish Lottery like 100 times. I'm like a bajillionaire now.

Ava Jae said...

An accumulation of experience inspired the post, not necessarily one particular incident. Also, I smiled at the pizza joke, even if the thought of SPAM on pizza sounds...less than appetizing.

Anyway, I didn't even know spam had infiltrated the world of text messages. That sounds particularly horrendous.

J. A. Bennett said...

Every time I follow people on twitter I brace myself for the spam in my DM's. It happens so often that I hardly register it anymore, I just ignore them. Unless, like you said, they do it twice. Then I'll tell them exactly what I think of their links :)

Ava Jae said...

I find it a little sad that people have come to expect spam when they use social media. Unfortunately it's impossible to avoid, but I suppose the best we can do is not add to the problem.

Jason Anderson said...

You're not harsh. You're SPOT ON!!

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Jason! And thanks for stopping by!

Jeremy Feijten said...

*cheers for Ava Jae*
You're absolutely right! I've been so frustrated with some Tweeters. I don't want people sending me links that might contain a virus, nor do I like to be followed by people looking for guys to sex cam with them or whatever they call it.
So no, you're not harsh. You're wonderful! :-)

Ava Jae said...

Aw, thank you Jeremy! That was very sweet of you. :)

I'm always wary when people send me links, especially when the links aren't explained. With viruses and hacked accounts and other undesirable possibilities at the end of that unknown link...the safest thing is to ignore (or block) it.

amberwest said...

I agree completely.

I'd also go as far as to say that if you are, say, Twitter, and you post the same thing repeatedly for weeks on end, even though it isn't officially spam, it looks like it.

As you point out, counterproductive. If I see that in a feed, I ignore it, or is extreme cases, block it.

Ava Jae said...

I've actually noticed lately that some people really do post the same exact tweets week after week after week. This usually takes longer for me to notice (and it takes a while before I get tired of it), but you're right--even though it isn't technically spam, it starts to feel like it after a while.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Amber! :)

twhite6878 said...

Not sure what I am to do to get people to come to my blog. I've been told to leave a link on anothers blog after you comment. But I guess that's not the right thing to do and I see it all the time. I really don't know what to do. It's frustrating.

Ava Jae said...

Do you have a Twitter account? I found that especially at first, promoting my blog through Twitter was very helpful. Just be careful not to overdo it.

As far as leaving a link after you comment, I do see it a lot and when I see people do it here, I usually let it slide. It's a lesser side of the many spam evils (and opinions vary on the subject--some people don't mind it and others do), but in my experience the best way to get people to visit your blog is to visit other blogs, write great content and share your links through various social media sites such as Twitter, tumblr and Facebook (just be sure to share it on YOUR page). Another great resource for bloggers is Triberr, which encourages others to share your blog posts via Twitter and in return you share theirs. Hope this helps!

Tracy Brown said...

YES! Oh, how I loathe those Twitter DMs when I follow a new person. Most are auto-DMs anyway, and if you're trying to "thank me" for following you by offering a link to your book, I'll pass.

Now a personal DM that says, "Thanks for following me, Tracy. Looking forward to Tweeting with you." - I'll take that. It's not necessary, but it doesn't feel like SPAM.

Regarding leaving links in comments. I'll leave a link to another post (and not necessarily mine, by the way) if the blog author is looking for help, more info, or might find a similar post on the topic useful/interesting. I love the idea of sharing resources and being helpful. I think leaving a comment at those times is fine.

Now just saying "hi, like your blog" and linking back to your own? Er, no.

Thanks for this post!

(I'm a new follower who found you via a Tweet by author Elizabeth S. Craig.)

Ava Jae said...

I agree with you entirely, Tracy. I don't mind DMs that just say, "Thanks for following," as you said, it only becomes a problem when the auto-follow DMs are, "Thanks for following, here's a link to my Amazon page, my Facebook page, my tumblr and LinkedIn and Goodreads and..."

As for the links in comments, again I agree with you. If the blog author asks for links or resources or anything like that--by all means, leave a helpful link. But when the blog author hasn't asked for any of that and you start leaving links to your blog or Amazon page or whatever it's usually not going to win you any brownie points.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and welcome to Writability! ^_^

Ryan Casey said...

I totally agree!

I have a strict policy of only plugging my own blog posts twice; once right after I've written it, and once again in the evening, in case anybody missed it earlier. Nothing irritates me more than seeing endless waves of repetitive tweets.

Balance usefulness (sharing others' links) with personality (because nobody likes a robot), and you'll be more successful on social media in the long-run. Begging and repetitive tweeting just screams desperation.

Ava Jae said...

You're entirely right about balance. It's not always easy, but if you can hit that sweet spot between personality and sharing great content, you'll make some very happy followers.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ryan!

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