Wed, 09 Apr 2008

Twitter abuse

Yesterday, I got an email from twitter notifying me that I have a new follower. I checked the page to discover my new follower is a complete stranger. It was apparent she was following me and others simply to drive traffic to her website. I say her, but there's a good chance the account is just a front.

Twitter is an extremely simple, interesting, and effective tool. I've really enjoyed the updates my friend Joe has been posting while in China. But like almost every simple tool on the Internet, people find ways to abuse it.

I'm not sure what the best policy is, here. Block followers you don't recognize and who don't provide any reason for following? Ignore the notice? Turn follower notices off?

A Google search for twitter etiquette will turn up literally thousands of pages of advice. I'm happy to simply not follow people whose posts annoy me. What bothers me about the new follower notices is that I really do want to know who is following me and I don't see any reasonable way to know that without being subjected to complete strangers whose motive is driving traffic to their sites.

I'll just have to see how it works out over time.

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