Spammers have infiltrated Twitter. This has been going on for a little while, but now they’re starting to irritate me just a bit. Basically what happens is that you have these Twitter accounts created, usually with just one tweet – a link to some sham website that will invariably try to take you for a ride. Like most spam messages, they promise fame, fortune, and too-good-to-be-true deals. Check out the profiles of these Twitter spammers and you’ll see that they are following thousands of _legitimate_ Twitter users.
Fine. This is all well and good. I always check everyone who follows me. I usually don’t return the follows unless I find that individual interesting. So when I discover that I’ve been followed by a Twitter spammer, I just ignore them so as not to subject myself to further Twitter spam from that account.
What I find somewhat surprising (but only a little) is how many followers some of these Twitter spammers have in return. Now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that some of these followers are other Twitter spammers, but the vast majority are legitimate Twitter users who, presumably, just reflexively follow anyone who follows them. There seems to be an unspoken rule out there on Twitter that if someone follows you, you’re obligated to return the favor. This is a rule that makes little sense to me because ultimately it leaves you receiving thousands of tweets a day. I’m currently following almost 100 other Twitter users, and as it is I receive a couple of thousand tweets a day, most of which never get read simply because I haven’t the time. I can’t imagine what it’d be like if I were following every single one of the 60 people who are following me. It’d just be that many more tweets I don’t have time in a day to read or follow-up on.