Fortunately, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about internet spam. In emails, on blogs, on Facebook and on Twitter. I’m talking about this sort of spam because recently I have been seeing an awful lot of it on Twitter especially and its driving me crazy.
I looked at my feed the other day and the whole thing was rammed with ‘buy my book’ tweets. Now I understand how social media can, is and should be used as a promotional tool, but there is such a thing as going too far. When every tweet you post is trying to coax people to buy your work, well, I just switch off. Similarly, if I decide to follow somebody on Twitter and, no matter what time of the day or night, I get a direct message (DM) saying ‘thanks for following me, check out my book’ then I’m likely to unfollow you just as fast.
I wish people would understand just how annoying automated messages and spam really is.
I’ve picked up a new blog to follow recently, by Kristen Lamb. You may have seen a selection of her posts earmarked here and that list will continue to grow because her words are extremely helpful. So too are her initiatives. My favourite is the ‘love revolution‘ #MyWANA, known more formally as We Are Not Alone. I won’t go into huge detail here, but I do recommend that you check out her blog and her posts about WANA because the whole idea of paying it forward, community, mutual understanding, help and care is a huge part of what she is trying to achieve. Personally, I love it and have been using the #MyWANA hashtag on Twitter to have conversations with people.
I mention Kristen and her blog in the context of this post because she talks about how the #MyWANA tag has recently been rammed with spam. And how that defeats the purpose of what the tag was created for and, worse yet, stops people using it. She has reclaimed the tag and since doing so, conversations there have taken place which put writers in contact with each other to form relationships. Far more effective that hurling repeated spam messages, wouldn’t you say?
From a personal point of view, the #MyWANA tag has put me in contact with people I might never have spoken to (similar to the #amwriting and #amediting tags). It allows me to have conversations no matter what time of the day or night and makes me feel part of a community of people who genuinely care and want to help. That is so, very, very valuable. Therefore I’m saddened to see people take advantage of it and fill it with spam.
I’m not going to wax lyrical about how one should promote their music/book/artwork but I will use this post to give you my personal stand on the matter. Hammering my Twitter feed with ‘check out my *fill in the blank*’ messages won’t encourage me to do so. It will make me think you are an automatic robot who doesn’t care about anything other than making sales. It will make your tweets fall into the background to be ignored because they are also the same thing. What it will also do, in extreme cases, is make me click ‘unfollow.’
Do yourself a favour… if you want me to buy into something you’re selling, tell me about it. Properly. Be available to answer my questions and interact with me. Show me you are a real person out there who is in a similar boat to me. Do that and I connect with you and not only will I talk back, but I’ll tell others about you too. The Posts I Like page is there for a reason… its because that’s stuff I want to share from people I have connected with over my blogging life. No one wants to talk to a machine.
What do you think, guys? Are these thoughts too harsh? Too critical? How do you feel about the constant barrage of selling spam on social media these days?