THE PROBLEM: TWITTER IS AT RISK
Twitter is highly vulnerable to spam because of the way it is designed, and because there is a general lack of awareness of best-practices and practices to avoid when using Twitter. This article hopes to help solve that by increasing awareness of these issues.
Below is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for making Twitter better, and keeping it that way.
THE TWITTER BEST-PRACTICES LIST
To help prevent Twitter from filling up with spam and abuse, we need to create a community-driven guide to Twitter Best Practices. This should be communicated and endorsed widely to begin to set some standards for acceptable use.
Here is a draft, work in progress, list of Twitter best-practices:
1. DO contribute content of real value to Twitter. These could be useful, clever, entertaining or engaging tweets, and/or they could be links to content that others might enjoy. The best way to get followers, attention and influence on Twitter, is to consistently add content of real value.
2. DO take care of your Twitter karma. In the near future your Twitter karma will be used to filter you and your content in or out of Twitter feeds. So be careful of your karma. More tools are coming out that measure your Twitter karma and score you based on that. Such as:
3. DO design applications that talk to Twitter to be polite. If you are making a Twitter application, or thinking of connecting your application to Twitter, think carefully about what it might do to Twitter if lots of people use it.
- Don’t make it automatically invite all of your users’ followers – make your each of your users select which followers in particular they want to invite one by one, so they have to think about it first.
- Don’t make it spew out large volumes of frequent and useless status messages to Twitter (for example, “Sue Smith is now on the NW corner of Park and 32nd Street,” “Sue Smith is now on the NE corner of Park and 32nd Street,” or “Joe the Swordsman just defeated Rick the Wizard in a battle” etc.
- Don’t make it behave like a bot by autofollowing people and sending them frequent @reply messages etc.
- Don’t make it send DM’s on behalf of your users, without first warning your users that they are about to send DM’s
1. DON’T use auto-follow. Auto-following rewards spam accounts and bots in Twitter. They simply follow you and you automatically follow them back. Be picky in who you follow. Who you follow reflects on who you are to the rest of the Twitter community.
2. DON’T bribe people in order to get them to follow you. Don’t offer people prizes or rewards of any kind if they follow you, or if you reach a certain number of followers. Twitter can be more than a high-school popularity contest. But that depends on what we focus on as important (number of followers people have is not important and does not accurately reflect their actual value to the network. The number of RT’s a person gets is a much better measure of their value to the network.)
3. DON’T DM people unless you think they should pay to read your message. DM’s go to many people’s mobiles via SMS. For many people, receiving SMS messages costs them money, and in some cases they have limits to the number they can receive. Only send someone a DM if you think it is worth them paying to get the message.
4. DON’T send useless @reply messages to people. Especially people you don’t know. If you send someone an @reply, it should at least be relevant to you and them, and hopefully something they will want to read.
5. DON’T post spam to #hashtags. Hashtags are a public resource and if you spam them you will actually make them so noisy that nobody will use them. If that happens, hashtags will become useless, even for spam. Spaming hashtags is like polluting your own drinking water. Don’t do it.
6. DON’T participate in chain letters. For example “RT this and you will have good luck” – they are simply annoying, result in bad karma, and so will not bring you good luck. For example do NOT participate in #TryThis1—it’s dangerous and must be stopped.
7. DON’T participate in multi-level marketing (MLM) on Twitter. That is not what Twitter is for. If you market something in an overbearing way on Twitter you and everyone downline from you who participates will probably end up losing followers.
8. DON’T advertise directly on Twitter. Instead, if you want people to get attention to yourself, or your product or service, then contribute content with enough value that people will read it. In the course of reading your valuable contributions, people will discover you and/or your product or service.