The Vandal blog on twitterFor many authors and publishers, Twitter has become a useful and increasingly important tool in marketing ebooks in particular. Whether it be by social interaction, new blog notifications, links to book reviews or direct linking to your book in the Kindle store, Twitter provides and ideal platform to get the word out about your book.

Judging by the number of writers I follow on Twitter, there is no doubt that it is, along with Facebook, a tool of preference. There is also the integration that Twitter has managed to achieve across the Internet. Just take a moment to see if you can think of a website you have visited recently that doesn’t use Twitter integration. Increasingly, on top of posting directly from within websites, access to an ever increasing number of sites and services is via your Twitter login. So it’s important.

Now imagine that you wake up one morning and your Twitter account has gone. A nasty experience and a proper kick in the teeth for all your book marketing.

Twitter suspension hangs over the head of every Twitter user. And don’t just think that it’s the spammers who get the chop. It can happen to any Twitter user at anytime for a number of reasons. You can read Twitter’s Best Practices and Twitter Rules and be well behaved, but a simple weekend ‘clean out’ of users you are following but are no longer interested in can trigger a suspension if you unfollow too many. And how many is too many? Well, no one really knows because Twitter doesn’t tell us that.

Perhaps you have a new book and want to get the message out about it’s release on a certain date but post just a few too many posts about it. Then perhaps your RSS feed from your blog over runs a limit. How many is too many? Again, Twitter doesn’t tell us that.

Any user knows that Twitter is now overloaded with spammers, DM direct selling, advertising, fraudsters and pay-per-click marketers. So when it happens, as it has to me recently with one small book promotion account, I can tell you I was pretty grumpy about it. On asking why the account was suspended, I was informed it was for ‘aggressive following’. I was following just over 300 users! Not my idea of aggressive at all. And didn’t I read that I could follow up to 2,000? So much for the rules.

There is no warning when Twitter decides to suspend your account. All you can do is ask for your suspension to be reconsidered. If you’re lucky, they may. If not, your account is dead.

I believe Twitter’s policy or suspending user’s accounts without prior warning is totally unfair. Facebook and many other social networking sites have much more refined systems and warn you from within the interface that you are approaching certain limits, such as adding new friends. A refined and simple way of keeping things under control.

Twitter I’m afraid is not so refined. In fact I think it’s becoming quite an ugly social media thug.


Twitter – The Social Media Thug
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5 thoughts on “Twitter – The Social Media Thug

  • 06/07/2011 at 6:24 pm
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    Perhaps because of it’s size, Twitter feels they are not accountable for their practices. Were there another program the size of Twitter competing for users, I think they would probably revisit these heavy handed practices of theirs. Excellent viewpoint and I agree with you.
    ~cath
    @jonesbabie on Twitter (and so far not suspended) :D

  • 06/07/2011 at 9:29 pm
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    Sorry to hear you were suspended. Twitter unsuspends all accounts upon request that are clearly not spammers. They are very, very forgiving.

    Aggressive following is a rate of follow, not an amount. New accounts have to be a bit less “aggressive” since all spammers start as new accounts.

    Twitter’s site says
    “Once an account is following 2,000 other users, additional follow attempts are limited.”
    You said
    “…didn’t I read that I could follow up to 2,000?”

    These are not the same thing.

    Particularly, the follow information is not a limit, it is part of http://support.twitter.com/articles/68916-following-rules-and-best-practices

  • 12/07/2011 at 9:28 am
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    I hope you get your account back soon! I hate seeing these things happen to innocent people, but I have to confess I’m glad they’re at least *trying* to deal with spammers. I’ve started getting a couple spam tweets a day… it’s a growing problem, and i’m not really sure how much they can do about it, considering the open way Twitter works.

    I hope you’re back on track soon!

  • 12/07/2011 at 9:33 am
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    Thanks India. We’ll see if I get it back, but judging by my DM’s this morning, Twitter is still full of repetitive auto bots. I’m not so sure how serious they are about removing spammers. No other social network has so many. It becomes very tiresome.

    • 12/07/2011 at 10:55 am
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      Actually, Facebook will suspend you without warning too, then send a standard email to your addy that doesn’t explain a thing. It has happened to many people I know. Again it is the whim of the users. I have had friends accounts suspended over complaints of pornography when they were talking about breastfeeding. Not pictures or anything like that. Talking about it.

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