Good Bad UglyIf you use Twitter you’ll have surely noticed that there are a lot of pesky accounts that include spammers of course, but also many that are just plain nuisances as well as those who are just old fashioned idiots looking to spoil a good thing. What they all have in common is that they use tricks that are sometimes stupid, but more often well planned and sophisticated. Here a few of the dirty tricks to keep an eye open for and ready yourself to use the handy Twitter block button.

The Sympathy Grabbers – Autism is the latest one, but be on the look out for cancer survivors, hopelessly abandoned mothers and any number of life’s misfortunes that anyone with an ounce of pride would not include in their profile on Twitter.

I’m a college student – Of course noting which college and what subjects and how tall and what colour eyes and of course young and female. I bet the spammers get a lot of red blooded male followers with this one.

I’m a Beleiber – Yes our friend Justin is so popular that noting him in a spammer’s profile is a guaranteed way to attract his real fans.

The No Profiler – No profile and a default egg avatar is 99% of the time auto created accounts that are created by the 1,000s every day. Why Twitter still allows these absolute pests is beyond me. They are just pollution. You will always find them following big number accounts. If you take these away, poor Stephen Fry would have a million less followers. Now perhaps there is a reason Twitter allows them. To boost follower numbers for the celebs so they stay on Twitter.

Follow, Unfollow, Follow, Unfollow – This trick is used to keep an account near the top of say a celeb account. So when an innocent user goes looking for Lady Gaga, they see who has recently followed her and are hopefully tempted to follow a like minded user. Nasty trick.

The ‘followback’ teams – Teens seem to have got onto this tag, but most times it will be a spammer guaranteeing to follow you back. Yes, you get a new follower, but do you really want a spammer?

I’m a naughty girl – This one started recently but the profile usually reads, ‘Hello I’m Sophie, Chloe or Jane and whole list of girls’s names followed by the naughty girl bit. Really, boys are still that stupid?

The Foul Mouth – A profile full of profanity by some idiot who likes to follow innocent looking accounts. Why? Well when an old vicar finds another vicar to follow and then has a little peek at who is following – well, we have a very shocked vicar. Unfortunately, idiots are born every day.

So there are a few potential victims of your block button should you stumble upon them. But then again, I suppose this is part of the beauty of Twitter. We do get the full cross-section of society participating. The good, the bad and the ugly.


Dirty Twitter Tricks
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18 thoughts on “Dirty Twitter Tricks

  • 19/09/2011 at 4:02 pm

    I love Twitter for the diversity – how it allows me not just to connect with fellow writers and readers, but people who share my many other interests (other moms, homeschoolers, genealogists, Pagans, and so many more people out there!). The pests are, thankfully, few and far between. I just try to use common sense about who I follow. Too bad not everybody does the same.

  • 19/09/2011 at 4:04 pm

    And then there is Facebook. On your ‘newsfeed’ page on FB, directly beneath your picture FB have added another useless section under the title ‘Lists’.

    I tried to figure out how to eliminate it earlier. Fat chance, its locked in. What makes the idiots in charge believe that I want to make lists? The subheadings are as follow:

    Close friends


    Your college – they use your secondary school’s name

    Your town – they use the name of the town you are living in.

    Out of curiosity I clicked on one (my home town) to find the profile of a friend who lives close by.

    I ask you, what’s the damned point!



    • 19/09/2011 at 5:33 pm

      Well Jack, I suppose the golden rule of social media is that nothing at all stays the same !!!! Always something new to learn and play with and find out all to soon how useless it is. lol

  • 19/09/2011 at 4:06 pm

    :( I call myself the ‘unpredictable college kid’ on my Twitter profile! Does that sound spammer-ish?

    • 19/09/2011 at 5:31 pm

      Na Pri :) You’re safe as you didn’t include any juicy details! :))

  • 19/09/2011 at 6:07 pm

    I must admit I can’t say as I notice that many spammers – or am I just blind??!! I always read a profile before following and I do not autofollow anyone. I do know I have followers who are not real people but then I don’t follow them back. Perhaps I am not big enough to have big problems?? or am I just naive?

  • 20/09/2011 at 9:08 am

    Why would it bother you if people with special needs children like to talk about it? I mean they are just looking for other people with similar issues so they can exchange information with?

    i am pretty new at this so maybe i am being naive but I think you are just being grumpy. :)

    and who doesn’t love college girls?

    The ones i dont get are the ones that follow you that dont even have the same alphabet? whats the point?

    • 20/09/2011 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks for your comment Antonio. Like minded people looking for contacts is what Twitter is about. That is great. But using fake afflictions in profiles to attract ‘sympathy’ followers is despicable. You can spot the fakes by looking at their tweets. Full of spamming and marketing tweets tells you to beware. There are many of these creeps around unfortunately.

  • 20/09/2011 at 10:16 am

    This made me smile because I was having this very conversation the other day about Twitter. Maybe I am getting twitter fatigue but it’s really annoying me at the moment. I particularly agree with you about the sympathy grabbers. Yes, by all means use twitter to link up with other people who have similar issues but use a hashtag or something, don’t put it in your profile. We all have our issues, whether it’s autism, depression, single parenthood, whatever but it’s not all we are. People are obsessed with labels. I’d rather people talk to me because they enjoy talking to me, I don’t want sympathy followers who are already making allowances for me because of what they’ve read on my profile.
    My main hate at the moment though is the ‘How to write’ people. I follow, and am followed by, a lot of writers which is great but it seems that all people do is spend each day talking about writing and not actually doing any writing. I don’t want to read another blog about the ‘rules’ you should follow to write the perfect first chapter, or about how people are cross because someone referred to writing as a hobby when it is their ART. Just shut up. You want to know how to write? Just write. There you are. Can I have my cheque now please.
    I can’t comment on whether or not you are just being grumpy Derek because I suspect I am a tad grumpy myself. In fact, I may put that in my profile ;)

    • 20/09/2011 at 8:27 pm

      You? Grumpy Tracy? I could just never imagine that. :)

  • 20/09/2011 at 11:56 am

    I do include juicy details! Earthquakes, the filthy Delhi heat, roommate quotes and the long and exhausting lectures. Well, what else do people expect from a college student?! :)

    P.S. Classic roommate quotes:
    “Gods do weed you know?”

    “Men can be dogs but a dog will never stoop the level of men”

    “Poignant? That’s a breed of dogs, right?”


  • 21/09/2011 at 4:13 pm

    Hahaha, great post, I ‘irl lolled’ :)

    I especially hate the ‘ghost accounts’, which are just used to get one extra follower

  • 21/09/2011 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve gotten the no profiler one a lot. They are known by me as the “@mention” — they’ll mention me with a link claiming to be about whatever I have just talked about. They’ll have tons or tweets are that are all the same thing “@soandso: random link” I immediately block em.

  • 28/11/2011 at 4:27 pm

    This is a great series of posts about Twitter, but are you including autism as one of ‘life’s misfortunes that anyone with an ounce of pride would not include in their profile on Twitter’? Gosh! Hopefully it isn’t meant to read that way.
    I’m gobsmacked that anyone would think autism was a way to grab sympathy. All the autistic people I know are highly intelligent, funny and talented, with great personalities and a very interesting take on life. Would I be more likely to follow someone just because they were autistic or had an autistic kid? Yes I would, not out of pity but because I’d have a higher expectation of finding them interesting.
    I’m relieved to find that what you’re actually complaining about is people who fabricate a connection to autism, not people who are genuine. But I thought I’d add a couple of points about why autism is displayed loud and proud in my own Twitter bio.
    1: When I follow someone who is autistic I want them to know immediately and up front what my connection to autism is – otherwise it appears to be a random follow.
    2: I want to connect with other writers with autistic kids but I don’t want to Tweet about autism as such – my daughter’s at an age where I have to respect her privacy. Hashtagging wouldn’t work for me therefore. And what I really want to Tweet about is writing anyway.
    3: The wonderful thing about Twitter is that we get to present a human face – it’s not all business. Publishers are tweeting about football, literary agents are tweeting about their kids, famous authors are tweeting about video games. We talk about the human stuff and then slip in a work-related link now and then. It’s what makes Twitter so effective and so much fun. I’m a writer but I’m also the parent of an aspie kid – I get to be both.

    • 28/11/2011 at 8:34 pm

      I agree with you completely Fiona. Especially about the benefits Twitter brings to those who wish to find common interest. This is to me what Twitter is all about.

      However my point was that there are unfortunately those spammers who have such low scruples that they use topics such as this to attract attention. When I wrote this post I checked a large number of users who mentioned autism in their profile and was shocked to find stream of spam in a number of accounts.

      There are many other topical and not so topical topics that are subject to spammers, but this in sadly the state of our world.

      Thank you very much for your comments and I do hope you understand my motivations behind this post.

      • 29/11/2011 at 12:03 am

        Thanks for clarifying that, Derek, it was just a slight ambiguity in the way you’d phrased things – for some reason it wasn’t absolutely clear that you were talking exclusively about spammers. But it is now, thanks.
        I also agree with the comment after mine, from Fatima. Like yourself I wouldn’t want to trivialise the extreme emotional and psychological pressure – and isolation – experienced by autistic people and their carers. I was just putting the upbeat spin on things.
        Very helpful blog posts for a Twitter newbie like myself. I’d add a smiley emoticon if I knew how.

  • 28/11/2011 at 5:20 pm

    Hello again,
    I follow a couple of autism twitters because my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome several years ago and I can tell you it is real. It is not a new label and I don’t think people use it to gain sympathy, but some moral support. I live and work with autism and it can be very tough and frustrating. Any well-meaning tips I can get, I welcome with open arms. Autism can reduce you to tears and despair, depending on the depth of the trait in the individual. I am lucky that my son is highly functional, but there are lots of parents who feel ostracized and vulnerable. Please spare a thought for them.

  • 28/11/2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thank you for your comments Fatima.

    This post was certainly not intended to trivialise Autism at all. Indeed, the opposite in fact. There are unfortunately those who will use anything in their spamming efforts and no topic is safe from them. Simply a sad state of our societies and not a reflection at all on those who genuinely wish to connect and discuss these issues.

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