I consider myself a relatively active, and well informed user of Twitter, and like many, a promoter of such a useful and potentially powerful tool. As time has passed, and popularity of the service has grown to the point of mainstream adoption, the spam was certainly inevitable.
That time has come, and is unfortunately making Twitter more of a hindrance in my list of daily services to keep up with. I use many of the social media platforms to converse, obsess, and digress. Twitter, for a period of time, used to be my number one outlet for speaking my word in written form! This onslaught of spam has made me rethink my ways, and find alternative services with the same or better potentials of doing what Twitter does best! Short and simple messages to the masses. I'm afraid MANY are feeling the same as me.
I know Twitter as a company has many issues on their plate to keep them busy! These include security vulnerabilities as of late, scalability to handle sudden bursts of traffic, monetization and eventual profitability, and many other problems and growing pains. I think it is safe to say that they are busy!
Unfortunately spam is one that is being addressed, but not quickly enough! A silent killer that is killing Twitter's core user retention! One major issue that I have noticed from some personal statistical analysis of traffic coming from links I provide on Twitter is that overall ACTIVE user base is down! Way Down!
Without going into exact numbers, I will say that "Pre-Oprah" time, when Twitter was the "IT" thing of the moment, my returns and traffic to a particular post/link were very impressive. I had to be careful, because I was crashing websites by Tweeting about them! Now, with even MORE followers, I am lucky to see about 10% of that previous average traffic clicking a link! That says one thing to me… Many have come, checked Twitter out, and are now on to other things. WHY? One of the major contributing factors is the uncontrollable amount of SPAM that gets to people. If spam is the majority of your Tweets and Direct Messages that you receive daily, where's the fun or usefulness in that? Hence, the Twitter Quitters!
Twitter has done a relatively good job at killing some of the most active spamming accounts on the service, but unfortunately those same people will only come back, and stronger with alternative methods of getting their message out. They've gotta find other ways!
Now to the point of my post! I have a suggestion! Something that Twitter should take into consideration. An idea to kill this spam issue, in nearly the same way "in-the-cloud" emailing services have done for years now (such as Gmail).
Feature 1 – Allow people to Filter their messages, with the ability to create a blacklist of words or phrases that they wish to automatically filter out. As an example: Over the last month, I have had many hundreds of posts from people with the words "I just gave you _____! You should send me a gift back ".
This is an automatically generated message created through fun140.com, a website that is slowly killing Twitter's functionality for me, and likely for millions! Check out my Direct Messages over the last 24 hours.
As you can see in the above image, if I were able to blacklist the phrases "I just gave you", "Mafia family", and "* Followers a Day" then I would not have received Twitter Spam in the last 24 hours! Period!
Feature 2 – Crowdsource the spam filter! Enable a "Report Spam" button within each tweet that allows people to report a tweet as spam. Similar to reporting a user to @spam but more obvious, and as an official tool. Once a threshold is reached, that particular reported account is suspended, investigated by Twitter, and handled accordingly. As you can see in my cheesy mock up below, it should be added within each tweet where the "Direct Message" and "Delete" items are already located. I also added the "RT" there since I know it's coming soon!
One of the major reasons people are beginning to shy from Twitter is the spam. I'm sure a healthy poll could prove that point, unfortunately many of those in the disappointed masses aren't even listening anymore to know of such a poll!
If anyone at Twitter is listening…
Please, for the success of your service, address this Spam problem quickly! With every waking day is more people that quit the service in realization that they can find other means of short and quick communication! Although your service is free, the aggregation and use of content created by the masses is one of your methods of future profitability. Therefore, your core contributing users ARE your success! Retain us! Without us you are a database of spam bots and inactive accounts with OLD news! Jump on the problem before the problem spirals out of complete control and you lose that core user!
Hey @Twitter @Ev @Biz … Please #StopTheSpam <– Tweet it and Pass the word!
I welcome others thoughts and ideas!
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