5 Stupid Things That Should Get You Banned From Twitter

Yesterday, I posted my strategy for boosting my Klout score (for those of you who didn’t read closely, it was really a strategy for being a good Twitter user). But there are some pretty stupid things that people do that, frankly, should just get them banned from Twitter for being a complete twit and spammer. Here are five of the most egregious Twitter sins.

1. Following and unfollowing a bunch of people

Twitter imposed a follower-to-following cap at +10% of your total followers. That is, if 5,000 people are following you, you can follow up to 5,500 people. But you’ll reach a point that, especially if you’re new, if you’re not tweeting out valuable information, you just can’t get more followers.

A common black hat strategy is to follow a bunch of people, and wait about 24 – 48 hours (if that long), then go back and unfollow them using one of the different network management tools, like FriendOrFollow. Since Twitter doesn’t notify us when we’re unfollowed, these charlatans will count on our willingness to follow these people, not realizing they’re not following us anymore. They can run up their follower count without ever contributing anything of value.

2. Putting words like “money,” “income,” or “revenue” in your Twitter name.

Unless your name really is Money, Income, or Revenue, don’t do that. I don’t want to know how to make money fast using your sleazy, and quite possibly illegal, system. Unfortunately, tricks like these work, as evidenced by the proliferation of email spam, despite the fact that we think “people know better.” If they did, then spam wouldn’t work, and it would die.

So they rely on our greed and stupidity, and think we’ll say “ooh, a way to make a lot of money from home? Sign me up!” The great thing about these people using one of the verboten terms is that I can spot them in my New Followers column in TweetDeck, and I can just block them without visiting their Twitter page. You people could save me even more time if you would just block yourself for me.

3. Using a picture of an attractive, bikini-clad woman as your avatar to get me to click through.

If you’re an attractive woman, and you want to put your OWN photo in your avatar, that’s fine. But if your Twitter account says your name is Ken, Dave, or Steve, I ain’t buying it. (And yes, I have seen more than one spam account that has a woman’s photo and a dude’s name.)

4. Sending me a contest or giveaway message without following me.

Occasionally I get a random tweet telling me I could enter a contest or try out a free item just for clicking a link. Rather than clicking the suspicious-looking link, I visit the person’s Twitter page, where I see a raft of identical tweets, each to a different person. The accounts are invariably following a few people, have sent out fewer than 30 tweets, and are less than 3 hours old. They’re usually suspended for suspicious activities a few hours later.

5. Following 2,000 people without sending a single tweet.

When I joined Twitter, it took me a few months to reach 2,000 people, because I was still trying to figure out who to follow. Even a great majority of Twitter users have fewer than 100 people they follow. When you have a brand new account following 2,000 people, but haven’t tweeted a single thing, I believe you’re trying to build up this account so you can start spamming me later. Unfortunately, I can’t report you for spam, since you haven’t actually tweeted anything. But I don’t plan on sticking around to find out either.

Basically, if you do any of these five things, you deserve to be blocked, reported, and banned. I know I’m fighting a losing battle, but it truly isn’t that hard to click Block on my TweetDeck and keep you out of my stream, and hopefully keep you from inflicting yourself on other Twitter users. Just go back to peddling your useless money-making crap to people with AOL email addresses.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy, who I also helped write Twitter Marketing For Dummies (another affiliate link).

Photo credit: Abardwell (Flickr)