Yesterday, I sparked some real interest from people with my 10 Signs for Spotting Twitter Spammers, and a lot of people started tweeting and commenting about how they have been hit with the same Twitter spam hammer. That got me to thinking about some of the different ways I’ve avoided and even eliminated a lot of the Twitter spam clogging up my Twitter tubes.
- Shut off email notifications. If you’re still getting email notifications about new followers, the best way to cut back on it is to shut off all email notifications and use TweetDeck’s New Followers column.
- Hit the Block or Block & Report Spam. Look for any of the signs of Twitter spammers and just block those people directly from TweetDeck (HootSuite can’t do that, can they? Update: Jill Manty says in the comments that, yes, you can do that.). If a Twitter account gets enough blocks, they’ll shut it down. This has an added bonus of not only eliminating spammers from your stream (and preventing them from seeing your tweets), but you can continue to frustrate the attempts of spammers.
- Use Formulists.com to see who has unfollowed you.A favorite trick of Twitter spammers and number chasers (i.e. people with 10,000+ followers and 200 tweets) is to follow and unfollow people. Since Twitter caps the number of people you can follow at 10% over the number following you, the spammers will follow and unfollow a lot of people, letting them bounce their rate higher and higher as their followers increase. This lets them build up a large follower network, which allows them to follow more people at a time.With Formulists.com, you’ll start to notice that people who followed you also unfollowed you 2 – 3 days later. You can also see if you inadvertently followed a spammer, so you can then unfollow them before you hit the Remove button.
(Note: While I expect this kind of behavior from spammers — because they’re evil — I’m sometimes surprised to see this from real people with real accounts. How do I know? Because they’ll follow me 2 – 3 times, or they’ll unfollow me within 48 hours of following me. You people know who you are. You should also I know I block you. Hard.)
- Use SocialToo.com to eliminate DM spam. I don’t use this service very often, but only because I’ve managed to avoid following a lot of spammers. Occasionally I do get auto DMs from people who thank me for following them, and ask me to download their free report. SocialToo will let you filter out certain DMs based on keywords and phrases you choose. So adding things like “free whitepaper” or “free report” to the filter will keep those DMs out of your stream and email inbox. SocialToo has limited options in their free service, but this is at least a place to keep some DMs out of your tubes.
- Use TwitSweeper.com. Doug from TwitSweeper left a comment on yesterday’s post, which reminded me I had signed up for their free trial several months ago (which has since run out). The great thing about TwitSweeper is that it identifies the tweeting pattern of your followers, and will flag them as spammers if they meet certain criteria. The one downside is that if you follow some news outlets, they may inadvertently be flagged as spammers, because they don’t have conversations and they don’t retweet. But TwitSweeper lets you see who you’re about to unfollow so you don’t accidentally drop people you wanted to keep.
Do you have any strategies or tools? How do you get rid of Twitter spam? Do you have a way to drop the spam hammer on people cluttering up your Twitter followers? Share your ideas in the comments below.
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.
Photo credit: Jens Lumm (Flickr)