I read a post recently that made me laugh, but not for the right reasons. On the other hand, it also made me think about how easy it is for someone who is new to Twitter and the Social Media sphere in general to make a huge mistake and alienate a lot of people who could have shortened the learning curve for a n00b significantly.
In a few keystrokes the potential to build a rapport and some quality online relationships is lost. Not only that, it’s also pretty easy to make yourself look like an ignorant tool. I’m not picking on people who are new to Twitter. Twitter is so new that it hasn’t been long since EVERYONE was a rookie.
That said, there are some who navigate the learning curve really quickly and others that don’t. There’s nothing wrong with being among the latter, provided that you recognize you’re still learning and don’t make the mistake of pretending that you’re not. The blog post that amused, as well as sincerely disappointed me, was entitled “Stop Twitter Spam PLEASE!“.
I detest Twitter spammers, so I was excited that someone decided to take a shot at them. Excited, that is, until I reached sentence 4 of the post and realized this poor, misguided soul had no idea what he was talking about. I hesitated to name the post specifically – but in the end, I had no choice. I can’t really illustrate my point without referencing the original post and giving people the opportunity to read it for themselves. In order to put things into perspective here, let’s take a quick look at what a Twitter spammer’s profile actually looks like:
If you compare that to the screenshot used as an example of a “spammer” at the post on iThoughts, you will see some significant differences. Actually, you’ll see absolutely no similarity whatsoever between the image I have included above and Gerald Weber‘s Twitter profile. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. To put it simply, that’s because @the_gman is NOT a Twitter spammer…not by a long shot.
I loathe “Twitter rules” posts. I’ve said it numerous times. There are as many ways to use Twitter as there are Twitter users. There are some common sense approaches to using Twitter effectively – like making sure your profile has a bio and a picture, but if someone is stupid enough to want to keep the ugly default avatar and tell people nothing useful about themselves, who am I to judge? Some people will tell you that “don’t curse” is a Twitter rule. To that I say, “Eat shit – I’ll cuss if I want to…” If you don’t like it, don’t follow me. The end.
No one is a Twitter expert – no one. If they tell you they are it’s because they’ve got an e-book they want to sell you about how to use Twitter to make money. Blah. It’s all a bunch of crap. On the other hand, some people have more experience using Twitter than others. So, if you’ve been using Twitter for a couple weeks and are so unfamiliar with it that you don’t even know there is a setting that allows you to control which @replies appear within your Twitterstream and which don’t, I would encourage you to refrain from writing a rant-like post throwing around accusations of spamming.
You’ll piss off the people who can help you learn. You’ll make yourself seem ignorant. You’ll alienate those who might help you to promote worthwhile content in Social Media circles at some point in the future. You’ll cause people, perhaps inaccurately, to come to the conclusion that you’re not all that bright and don’t understand the very definition of the term “spam”. The moral of the story, don’t be a tool. As in real life, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.