Thou Shalt Not Fear Spam

by Ken Mueller on May 1, 2012 · 25 comments

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A few recent conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and in blogs have me thinking about spam. No, not the food. The bad kind. Though I guess for some of you that might be a bit confusing.

But I’ve seen a bit of hand wringing over the presence of spam on various social networks, to the point where some are questioning the use of those platforms.

One friend recently proclaimed that she was thinking about telling her clients to stay away from Twitter because of the spam. Really? Just because they receive spam tweets doesn’t mean their customers see them. It has no effect on those who follow them, unless they are the ones doing the spamming. If your client is a “newbie” and might be overwhelmed by spam, then perhaps they shouldn’t be online at all.

Then my friend Margie Clayman was talking on Facebook about the spam problem on Pinterest, which resulted in a blog post on why she deleted her Pinterest account. (I don’t say this to call her out, but I told her I would be using her as an example in this post. She’s a big girl, she can handle it.) One of her four reasons for closing her account, is the presence of spam on this burgeoning platform.

In my mind, spam should never really be a reason for avoiding a platform, unless of course it’s nothing but spam. I have yet to experience any of the spam on Pinterest, but plenty of my friends have mentioned it. Twitter has it’s fair share of spam and phishing scams, but trust me, no one is “saying horrible things about you”.

Well, maybe they are, but no one is going to tell you about it via a DM.

Facebook has a problem with phishing links, but it’s a relatively small problem, and like Twitter, it comes in waves. I’ve noticed that LinkedIn has a real problem with spam, particularly within groups. A lot of the comments I get on my posts on LinkedIn involve the sale of Louis Vuitton handbags. I’m also getting spam on Google +, at an alarmingly increasing rate.

And of course on my blog there are plenty of spam comments, usually involving Ugg boots and Canadian pharmaceuticals, not to mention the spam email I get, much of which also seems to be related to Canada and prescription drugs. Go figure.

Along with every good, new thing on the web, the spammers are sure to follow.

Do we opt out of having an email account because of spam?

Do we opt out of getting mail delivered to our home because there is junk mail?

No, we have filters. We learn. We get smart. It’s a constant battle of learning curves on both sides. Sure it’s annoying, but we learn to both live with it, and deal with it. We learn which links not to click. In fact, on most platforms there is a mechanism for flagging or reporting spammers.

The presence of spam shouldn’t scare you away from using social sites. It exists. Any new platform that is created will eventually be the target of spammers. It’s a fact of life.

As are weeds. Sure, there are some of us who will avoid gardening so as to avoid weeds, but serious gardeners will tell you, dealing with the weeds is a small price to pay for having a beautiful, productive garden. Plus, there are ways to deal with the weeds to minimize their impact.

When deciding which online platforms to use for your business, there are plenty of criteria you should use to make your decision. Spam shouldn’t be one of them.

How does spam affect your view of various social platforms? How are you dealing with the problem of spam?


 Thou Shalt Not Fear Spam

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