Whither Twitter Followers?

I used to regard Twitter as a low priority marketing device. I’ve had the account for going on nigh three years now, and, while it is nice to have, it has been more of an afterthought than anything else.

Previously, the only time I tweeted was when I published a new article such as this one.   In the past few months, however, I have since started tweeting my public postings from Facebook, as well. Since I now have subscribers, what’s a little extra twittering into the Ethernet now and again? Surely a scant more marketing can only be that much more beneficial, right?

Not so much.

Turns out, Twitter is every bit the spam magnet as any other popular platform. While you may think a strong internet presence is a good thing, the reality is, the more exposure, the bigger the target you are. Case in point: Have you taken a look at your Twitter followers lately?

Tell me that I’m anal, but I like to check out who is following me. Ideally, I’d prefer that the audience be engaged in my content sufficient to post replies, but barring that outcome, they should also be real persons, at the very least, as opposed to spam bots arbitrarily and quite persistently spewing porn and erectile dysfunction drug solicitations into my Twitterfeed.

For the moment, I am content to manually block purveyors of porn and such, but one day, as POB’s exposure becomes that much more ubiquitous on the web, I envision using a free tool such as Twitchuck that will enable me to block the undesirables before they appear in my followers list for all to see.

While spam bots on Twitter may not be a factor for some, I truly believe that as in life, who you associate with speaks volumes about you. Maybe you are OK with a thousand followers -nine hundred and seventy-five of which are porn spammers- because you don’t pay much attention to your Twitterfeed anyway.  Additionally, gosh dang it all, you rather enjoy the boost that having a  thousand followers gives your ego.  That’s just how you roll.

If that is the case, then plus ca va. Ah salud! Congratulations. You wouldn’t be the first to get an artificial thrill from quantity rather than quality.  But if you’re like me, then you are very aware as to what kind of impression your internet presence is generating. And I’m not just referring to dubious Twitter followers or even what you publish to your own blog. 

Others with less than friendly agendas can just as easily lurk in your social media feeds trolling for whatever content they believe can be transformed into trash talk to use against you.  And if you don’t catch such saboteur activity right away, regardless of how inaccurate the information that is being published about you may be, it can easily become the un-doing of your digital good name and cred.

Direct your attention to Exhibit A – Last May, an anonymous troll crept out from under a rock and attacked POB because I published the wikipedia image of a science fiction monthly magazine cover for a critique I did of a short story that had originally appeared in the periodical.  I’m not clear on what set off the troll since I hadn’t had any previous contact with him.  He appeared to be a random nutjob perpetrating a seagull drive-by (Flying in out of nowhere, shitting all over everything and then leaving.)

Perhaps he had not liked my opinion of the short story.  Or perhaps he was supposed to have tea and krumpets with Elvis that afternoon and got stood up.  If I had a dime for every wack job who took issue with something I’ve written, I wouldn’t have to solicit tips with a Pay Pal account for my writing because I would be independently wealthy.

Regardless of the troll’s issue, his manner of expressing his disapproval was to launch into an uninformed tirade (on his own blog, of course) as to how I was infringing an image that was, in reality, a matter of fair use.  Not that the troll in question would concern himself with such things.  An outburst such as his should have involved a degree of knowledge on the subject of copyright given how he rambled on about the matter, but, quite typically, said troll pulled a rant out of his ass to amuse, presumably, his followers.  One can ony speculate as to why anyone would want to highlight his ignorance of the fundamentals of copyright by accusing someone else of infringement.

In the final analysis, the damage the troll was attempting to inflict would have been tough to clean up had I not addressed it immediately upon having discovered the trail of shit he had left behind.  Further, had I not bothered, others would have eventually, no doubt, stumbled upon the troll’s barely literate rant, and, such contact would have served as my introduction to those unknown third parties. 

Maybe I worry too much, but I don’t think so. I work hard to create quality content to keep readers informed and entertained, and, I’ll be damned if I’m going to permit some drive-by escaped mental patient to fling shit at me and/or a twittering spammer to taint my reputation by virtue of association.  It ain’t happenin’ on my watch.

Others have written on the subject and likened Twitter followers to RSS feed followers, but I disagree.  Those who follow via RSS are anonymous.  They aren’t visible to the general audience the way Twitter followers are visible to anyone who wants to take a look.  So as to the count of sweating over small potatoes, say what you will, but I don’t want any followers that peddle salacious products and services attaching themselves to the POB brand name in any way, shape or form.

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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