Monthly Archives: October 2009

There are Rules People! – twitter

Whenever you sign up for an account on a website, any website, you will be presented with the Terms of Service – or the written agreement between you and that website.  You cannot sign up for an account without at first accepting these terms.

Supposedly, every account holder reads the TOS word for word. It is my experience with peeps of all shapes and sizes – most just click the  submit button as fast as they can – barely glancing at the lengthy and usually legal ease laden contract.

This is problematic for many reasons.  The TOS contain information on how the information and data you place within that account will be used by the website, along with the rules by which you agree to play nice nice with others.

These are two very important things to know about any website you are going to use – personally or “for work”.

twitter is no different.  Contained within the twitter TOS, is the link to the page containing a very detailed, but not legal ease version of the rules.

The below is an excerpt from twitter’s “twitter support: the twitter rules” page:

Spam: You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone. What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:

  • If you have followed a large amount of users in a short amount of time;
  • If you have followed and unfollowed people in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive follower churn);
  • If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
  • If you have a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following;
  • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;
  • If you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a trending or popular topic
  • If you send large numbers of duplicate @replies
  • If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies in an attempt to spam a service or link
  • If you repost other user’s content without attribution.
  • If you have attempted to “sell” followers, particularly through tactics considered aggressive following or follower churn.
  • Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

Each of these items help twitter better understand how to keep its community clear of the types of peeps no one wants to be around – the pitch peeps and internet marketers (who are really just salespeeps with clever/more refined pitches.)

Anyway, the two best parts about twitter’s rules are:

  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;

The reason why?  twitter is all about community.  The two points above mean that as a community, we can help twitter learn what we find acceptable. twitter trusts users to report abuse and spam.  It even makes it easy!

You can report twitter spam through twitter’s @spam account.  Once you follow @spam, you can report spam through a DM.  There is also the built in feature to block a follower.  One click, and you’ve let twitter know that the account holder is no good in your book.

One peep blocks you and it’s not a big deal.  Happens.  However, if peeps consistently block you, twitter knows.  If peeps consistently unfollow you, twitter knows.  If you don’t want to get your account closed, if you care about the peeps you are connecting with and you want to maintain a healthy connection – tweet by the rules.

Here’s the complete twitter Terms of Service and Rules.  If you want to get my thoughts on how to sign up and use a twitter account properly – download Twitter 101 for free from my website’s twitter page.