Friday, January 18, 2013

A Lesson on Spamming by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I'm seeing a lot of people spamming others and myself. Some do it on purpose and don't care. Others only want to promote themselves and have trouble understanding the blurring boundary lines of acceptable promotion and real spam. Another select group are newbies to the social media world and don't know any better. They are still learning about the unspoken etiquette's of the do's and don'ts.

According to, spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. 

If you believe this only applies to emails being sent out, or email loops and groups, then think again. It also includes unwanted and unassociated comments on blogs and social media pages, and private messages sent through these systems. If you reply to a person's status on a social media site, it should always be related to the original post. It's inappropriate to post something totally and completely unrelated to the discussion. 

What happens if you do this? You will get unfriended, unfollowed, blocked, muted, put on restriction, reported as a spammer, and possibly locked out of your account. Trust me, it isn't worth it. It doesn't help your reputation, the reputation of your business, and your credibility will dissolve among your peers and competitors. It's the complete opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Spam Pitfalls to Avoid
1) Don't send out emails or email newsletters unless you offer the ability for people to subscribe and unsubscribe to your email list.

2) If you belong on email loops and other social media groups and forums, be sure that you read and understand the rules of the group. Some will not allow any kind of promotion at all. Others will allow certain kinds of promotion, while others allow it on certain days of the week or certain times of the month.

3) If you are on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and etc., only post comments on other people's pages that pertain to their status updates and discussions. For example, if a person posted a review of their book and a link to it on THEIR page, you should not post a reply comment about your church youth choir and link to your church no matter how proud you are of your church. Post those kinds of things on your own page or on your church page.

4) If you decide to post a comment on a person's page that is not a reply comment to a status post, I would caution you to first post a general comment of encouragement or complimenting the person whose page you are on. Be very selective in posting links back to you if you do not personally know the person. My advice is to wait until you are in a discussion and post a link to a particular article or video that actually pertains to the discussion. Avoid posting blatant, generic links that only pertain to your website/blog and that only promote YOU or your books. Give them something that is of use to them.

5) Do not tag people in photos and or discussions that have nothing to do with them unless you personally know them and KNOW they will be interested in the discussion. Whatever you tag them in will automatically post on their page as well, and they will be exposed to people you have connected and accepted as friends, but who they have not. This is that "friends of friends" feature that Facebook warns us about in our privacy settings that so many people still don't understand.

This is not an exhausted list, but a good beginning. My goal is to address the issues that I see most often. If you simply remember that your personal pages are meant for YOUR promotion, and other people's pages are theirs for THEIR promotion, you should not have any problems.

What about you? What are some of your spam pet-peeves?


Sylvia A. Nash said...

I don't mind folks telling me about a book, an event, a happy-dance experience. I like to hear about things, and I like to be able to do the same. I do mind being bombarded with 50 messages an hour from one person on anything. This seems to happen more on Twitter. Instead of getting the extra exposure that person probably expects, those messages get ignored at least by me. I scroll through 50 posts from one person to the one posts from individuals who inform me of something a couple of times a day or maybe even a couple of times a week. I figure if they post, they have something new to say. But that's just me. I'm brand new to Twitter, and the pages and pages of tweets can get overwhelming, no more than I'm following (so far), and I don't have that kind of time. I suspect few of us do. Thanks for reminding us to be considerate. Sometimes, especially when you are new, if others do it, you might think it's expected, and you do it "to fit in." But not everything needs to be emulated.

Jennifer Major said...

I started my FB account in 2007 and had to deactivate in in December, thanks to spam/virus messages being sent from my account. I was MORTIFIED. It happened two or three times, even after I changed every single setting and beefed up my security. I staretd a new FB and go hit again, then sadly, had to unfriend the people from who the virus originated. But I knew they were in the same boat.
I'm keeping my number s very low in order to weed out the accounts that had the same issues. It seems as long as I don''t allow certain people access, I'm fine. But it's pathetic, because they didn't do it, some idiot did it!

Myra Johnson said...

Excellent points, Jennifer! Thank you!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Sylvia, Those 50 tweets in a row can become annoying. They don't bother me as much on Twitter since the culture is like that over there, but I do get annoyed on FB, Google+ or emails.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Jennifer, I had to restart my FB acct 3 months b4 my debut novel came out due to a virus that shut my acct down. FB refused to help me. Their customer support is virtually nonexistent.

After that I was cautious about allowing 3rd party apps have access to my FB acct, such as Branchout, Birthday calendars, etc. Since then, I have had no problems. I still have friends who get viruses and sometimes they tag me, but as long as I don't click on those links and untag myself and report it as spam, I've had no problem.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Thanks, Myra!

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Marji Laine said...

I loved your article, Jennifer, but I have to laugh at the spam comment that some unknown added, which you'll probably remove. How ironic to find such an obvious example on an article about spam. LOL!