Excuse Me, But Someone Just Took A Dump In Your Stream

I’m sad to say that all sorts of nefarious activity is showing up in my Twitter stream these days. Asshats are sending me @reply messages with a link that seems innocent enough until clicked. The porn bots are much easier to spot, since the avatars feature young ladies in revealing garb. Sadly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better, if indeed it does get better.
The challenge isn’t small. Tweet-Spam comes in every variety imaginable. For instance, there are more and more firms offering to sell you friends or followers, as the case may be. According to Ad Age, USocial has been in the Twitter-follower game for a while but is adding Facebook friends and fans to its offering today, per a press release declaring the adage “You can’t buy your friends” to be incorrect, at least when it comes to Facebook.
Why would someone opt for this? Either there are a lot of lonely people in the online world, or there are people who want to make money by pitching their “friends.” Which, brings us back to Spam.
Facebook’s terms of service prohibit the use of “personal profiles for commercial gain,” so if uSocial is paying people to pimp out their profiles, Facebook could pull the plug. Spokesman Brandon McCormick said the company is taking a hard look at uSocial’s offering and deciding what, if anything, to do about it.
I hope Twitter and Facebook crack down on the scams, but honestly, is there any point in hoping that people won’t attempt to shortcut their way to social media fame and fortune? For those inclined it’s their nature to find a way to exploit, to deceive and to profit at any cost.
Many bloggers and so-called social media experts are at the ready, ready to say it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the quality of the conversation and fostering real relationships with real people that you care about and who, in turn, care about you. If you ask me, that’s what I’ll say and maybe my advice, and the advice of others, will sway certain parties from the precipice of no return. But it won’t sway everyone. That’s why we need to establish a polluter’s prison, which isn’t a prison at all. It’s banishment.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.