Warning: Venting below. Read at your own risk.
I hate social networking. I do.
I really can’t comprehend the appeal. I have friends. I keep in touch with my friends. I like email and IM.
I mean, I have a Facebook Page and my Twitter. But those are strictly for purposes of expectation — people come to my blog from them, and from my blog discover my book. I’m not stupid or oblivious; you don’t have to understand a thing to know you need to use it. Hell, if I could afford it, I’d probably buy ad space on a TV network, because people bloody watch TV! I don’t, I hate television these days, but I’m not most people.
Why am I so upset? Twitter spam. I can’t really understand the reasoning behind its existence. I mean, at least, with email SPAM it’s adverts (<1%) and scams (99.999%); you send out enough bogus messages selling fake Viagra and offering people a cut of some us$10M restructuring of the Nigerian treasury … but the follow spams. I can’t quite get that.
Today I fell victim to a follow bot. And I don’t mean I got followed by a fake account, or a bot. I’m sure I’ve been followed by more than a few of those from the day I set the damned account up, and it doesn’t hurt anything so I ignore it — I follow those I wish to follow, and I can’t do anything about who follows me so I ignore it, except to see if anyone I might find interesting followed me today. I mean a bot that fed me a load of followers and actually followed a mess of people for me/as me!
Sadly, it seemed kosher enough; the best scams always do. I just thought it might be a matching service, you know like Twitter has built-in, but like so much of twitter can be a little labyrinthine and obtuse at times. Just a little social net within a social net — I’m a writer, it might help me find the profiles of reviewers, other authors, etc. I mean I get the intended point of social networking, that’s plain and crystal clear on the ad-copy, I just don’t grok the purpose as people use it. So I go, and I’m signing up and in — I mean, what the hell, right? Can always just not use it if it’s a bomb.
Oy was it EVER! I clicked two things and next thing I know I’m following over 300 people, half of whom don’t speak any language I could identify to save my life, let alone comprehend! My followers also ballooned up — not much, thank God! I “only” went from 82 to 124. Still, it’s annoying. Hopefully this turns into a happy accident and some of those 42 people will be real people who take an interest in my work. Hopefully some of the bogus accounts will just disappear.
Really sad part — some of those accounts were clearly people like me — just made a mistake. And they were interesting looking enough I might have kept them followed, but for one little annoyance: they’ve still got that service and it sends DMs every so often from all the accounts your following that have it!! So I unfollowed them to save myself the DM SPAM.
They say read the fine print — sadly there was none. The closest thing there was … well a) I’m dyslexic — it didn’t actually, it turns out, say what I thought it said and b) I really need to find a Twitter to English dictionary because some of what it said it would do wasn’t quite what I thought that meant.
So — I’ve made a twit saying I’m sorry to all of my followers for any SPAM they may have received. And I repeat that apology here: I’m really sorry. I ought to know better, and in any regard but FB and Twitter I think I’d have been all right — I’m just out of my frame of reference on them. I miss the days of USENET, FIDONET, and IRC 😦
- Twitter Users Warned of Bogus Experiment Accounts (news.softpedia.com)
- Social Media: The Pitfalls Of Stalkers & Obsessive Haters (theobamacrat.com)
- How People Use Social Media in Kenya (topdeckseo.wordpress.com)
- Do People Know That Social Networks are Public? (firstcapricorn.wordpress.com)
- Unfriended and Unfollowed – How social networking has changed relationship management (japansociology.com)