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.