As we adapt and introduce new and exciting technologies that move the whole of the human race forward, we find that undesirable elements follow us – spoiling the whole experience. We have gotten so used to seeing the junk mail, spam, or its equivalent in the social media world that we tend to tune it out.
There are good and bad points about Social Media; it allows us to connect with people that we don’t know; this can allow us to develop connections that can assist in job search and business development; yet at the same time we open up a channel for junk messages. The vast majority of people have a genuine desire to connect and to assist each other achieve specific goals. This is the positive side of social networking.
Millions of messages are sent out each and every day. When this commentator finishes a new article then several messages are sent automatically on social media channels informing listeners of the presence of a new article that may interest them. Of course the writer hopes that his more than 8,000 connections will take the time to read each article published, indeed every writer wants to pen the next article that ‘goes viral’ . The key element here are those who may turn into customers in the forthcoming period. Yet adding articles is about building trust with each reader.
Multi-level marketing schemes are simply one corner of a pyramid of undesirables. There are literally thousands of scoundrels out to separate you from your money. In starting out in life I remember my grandfather offering the advice that “if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true”. That does not stop people from acting. We have all seen it the advert stating ‘how I made $21,271 in just 9 days’. Something in our brain says “I deserve some of that”. Yet the truth of the matter is the majority are all schemes that are intended to separate the unsuspecting fool from their money.
Part of this are the spam-connectors. These are the people that are always in sales mode. The first messages are innocent enough, ‘Join me on x.bizbuilder.com’ (or whatever the name of the new social site is). One site leads to another, etc., etc. Then you get to the heart of the matter, the daily message which goes beyond hyping their product. Connect to enough people on Twitter and you will see this as a normal part of your daily activity, but you do have to learn to ignore these type of message to continue to live on the social web.
Sadly most of the Social Media spam is perpetuated by innocents, who simply pass on messages by other people because it sounds like it may be of interest (usually without looking at the associated web site).
This writer generally does not feel that blocking, flagging, or reporting users should be a part of the normal activity of any social media user. Yet there are times when certain users go one step too far. Having suffered hundreds of spam messages from one particular user, the writer took the unusual step of removing the contact from my list of connections on several networks. The next day, however, came in a request from that person to connect to them again. Several days later and many messages later it was evident that blocking that person was the only choice available. We are often too polite, but there are times when it is important to protect ourselves from unwanted intrusion.
It is true that Blogs and other social media tools have changed the publishing landscape, making it easier than ever to share information with the world. Users of social web services can send notes, include embedded links, etc. to their connections. Of course automatic systems will treat spam drivers equally to genuine posts and the crafty bit of SEO can boost the visibility of any site. It is not the social media platforms themselves, nor the capability of publicity products like TweetAdder, or SocialOomph that in themselves are the cause of spam, that will relate to the content and the attitude of the provider and how they leverage the service.
Spam will be with us way into the future, ultimately the only defence is our own common sense and how we manage our connections.
Tags: Marketing, Social Media, Social networking, spam