Writer or Spambot?
Got spammed by a writer this morning on Twitter. The fellow isn’t someone I follow, so he made sure it popped up into my queue by putting “@scalzi” at the front, followed by a generic plug for his book and a link to the page he made for the book. Given that the vast majority of the “@” messages to me on Twitter are by people who follow me and/or are clearly responding to me or at least talking about me, this generic spammy message stood out, not in a good way. I went back to visit this fellow’s page; every comment from him that wasn’t a retweet was a generic spam message about his book.
He has a reasonably large number of followers, so I clicked through to look to see who they were: words used at lot in the descriptions include “SEO,” “brand consultant,” “social media marketing,” “business coach” and so on. This suggests rather strongly that this fellow has amassed his followers by signing up for one of those circlejerk services in which you get a whole bunch of followers by allowing the service access to your account so they can make you follow a bunch of people as well, and then you (or the service) retweet their tweets.
Not that this guy follows me (or that I use one of those circlejerk services, for that matter). No, what it looks like is that this fellow figured out that I was a writer, and thus a fine person to spam regarding his book. So off the tweet went, into my queue.
All of which makes him indistinguishable from a spambot. And also makes him an asshole.
Here’s the result: He’s blocked, he’s reported for spam, and I will neither ever read his work nor promote him or his work in any way. Which is a shame for him, because, you know, I do a lot of promoting of other writers, including on Twitter. But I don’t like being spammed, and I don’t like writers who spam. So to hell with this dude.
Dear writers: Don’t be an asshole spammer on Twitter. Talking about your work on Twitter? It’s cool. Occasionally promoting your work to your followers on Twitter, as part of a larger stream of tweets about everything else, including life, writing, pets and food? Perfectly good. Asking for a retweet every now and again? Generally not a problem.
Making every tweet an unsolicited ad for your work? You’re an asshole spammer.
And also: You’re a boring asshole spammer. Spending your day cranking out the same damn tweet to random people and retweeting a bunch of people because your fake followers service told you to is no way to go through your social media life, son. It stinks of desperate. It also marks you as the sort of person who doesn’t actually know how to be interesting. Which in itself doesn’t speak well about your ability to entertain someone with your actual writing work.
If you’re a writer on Twitter and you want me to be interested in your work, be interesting on Twitter. Use Twitter like an actual human being would, rather than approximating a virus program controlling a PC. And see other people on Twitter as actual human beings, not blobs to be marketed to.
In short: don’t be an asshole spammer. Life’s too short for you to be that. Certainly my life’s too short to tolerate you being that.