By now, we're all pretty much spam experts. Between those friendly Nigerian princes and lottery windfalls in tiny European countries, our radar is finely tuned.
And just when we thought we could control the onslaught with plug-ins and buttons and scripts, spam is spreading from email to social media. Some of it is automated, but a lot of it is not. And it's the kind that's not that concerns me the most because it's preventable. Trouble is many people don't realize they are doing it, or if they do they think we won't catch on.
So here are some common types of spam on your favorite social media platforms and steps you can take to get rid of it or stop doing it.
Twitter — the bombardment:
The bombardment is my term for someone who posts the same exact tweet a hundred times but only changes the name of the intended recipient. Sometimes, the recipients don't even make sense. I have actually talked to people who think this is a good tactic. As they explain it, how else are they going to get the message out? That's a subject for another So Social, but I can assure you this is one of the worst ways to go about it. Not only do you risk Twitter flagging your account and suspending it for doing too much too fast, you are likely to anger people and lose followers.
Facebook — ALL CAPS, ??!?! and bad words:
Some people are passionate, and while that's to be commended in some circumstances, Facebook doesn't usually see it that way. Typing responses in all caps or using excessive punctuation — even words like jerk and moron — in the comments is an easy way to be flagged for spam. But here's the worst part: When you are flagged for spam, your comment is invisible to everyone except you and your friends. So you may not even know you've been flagged. And once you're flagged, there's no guarantee your next comment will get through. So hold back on the passion and you should be OK.
Instagram — screenshots and photos of ads:
Instagrammers love Instagram. And they love taking photos. If you've looked at the popular page lately, you've probably been dismayed at the number of screenshots that have been making the list. And some of these screenshots aren't even photos — they're words or captures of websites. As a proud Instagrammer, I can tell you that I report every single one of these, and I'm sure others do too. The more reports Instagram gets about an account, the more likely that account will be suspended. That goes for any social media platform. So if you aren't taking the photo, don't post it. Please. Thank you.
Pinterest — shortened links don't go a long way:
This one really annoys me. I like to add context to my Pinterest boards by posting links to stories or other pages. The spam filter on Pinterest appears to work in overdrive because it just doesn't like those bit.lys and tinyurls. Sometimes, you'll get a page asking you to fill out a bunch of extra information. Sometimes the pin never shows up. In any case, I recommend steering clear of the shortened links in your pins.
If you watch out for all those things, your social media fun should continue uninterrupted.
What questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.