Twitter Abuse

June 25th, 2009 | Categories: blogs, content, networks, social media, trends, web issues

Twitter abuse is now a pandemic - at least in my mind. People are recklessly using of this micro-blogging application, often without a purpose or goal in mind. This is one of the main reason I don’t use the service as much as I used to. The concept of value has become lost among a sea of thoughtless, frenzied tweets.

I think it is fair to say that Twitter is now mainstream. Along with Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and a few others, Twitter can be classified among the web’s social media elite. With this fame also comes noise. Many Internet users and companies are jumping on the bandwagon in an attempt to profit from this new trend. In other words, the uneducated have been let loose with tweet fever. It’s like giving a gun to a child - instant chaos.

When I do check Twitter, I passively parse through the latest tweets, rarely clicking on a single item. In addition, I’ve become desensitized to most users who tweet more than 10-15 times a day and I usually skip over their messages. These users eventually get deleted. Honestly, I think that 5 tweets a day (at most) should suffice.

Twitter has become a true time sink. Use it diligently and don’t get caught up in the hysteria - excess time on Twitter kills productivity. We only have a certain amount of time in our day - use this time wisely. My recommendation is to only use it occasionally to ask a question, get advice, or inform your followers. Don’t be a hypocrite though. Tweet less often, but pack it with value. After all, you don’t want your followers becoming to desensitized to your tweets.

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  1. michael arrington Says:

    hahah, whhhhat? Where have you been?

    “…without a purpose or goal in mind.”
    “…sea of thoughtless, frenzied tweets.”
    “Twitter has become a true time sink.”
    “…the uneducated have been let loose with tweet fever.”
    “It’s like giving a gun to a child - instant chaos.”
    “…Twitter kills productivity.”

    That IS what Twitter is for, all about, it’s CORE. The heart of the beast IS thoughtless narcissism time sink waste of life.

  2. Aidan Says:

    I would have to disagree. Twitter could be very powerful and useful if people knew how to use it effectively. Instead, individuals choose to abuse it and disrupt the system.

    Twitter has morphed beyond its original intent. The beast can’t be controlled. We can only try to contain it…


  3. BWI Says:

    Glad to hear you figured it out. If you watch the public timeline, over 25% of all tweets are just links. If you look at all the RT’s it simply makes me sick. A RT? Really? That 140 character tweet was so good that you RTed it again? To me, that is just tweeting to make noise so others know you alive.

    Twitter has peaked, and it is no fault to the abusers. It’s fault of the developers in not developing a solid business plan prior to site development. Users don’t know what to do with Twitter. They just use it because it’s fun to say, the media liked it a few months ago, and some social media guys said it’s great.

    You post is what a lot of people feel right now, and Twitter needs to be prepared for a big let down. Get new visitors is easy for them. Getting visitors that tried it and got turned off…good luck.

    Final note to Twitter’s doom…They are not developing it fast enough. What major improvement has Twitter really done. Added lists? FriendFeed and Facebook already do that. Show a list of what is currently popular? A TON of sites already do that. Taking a quick look at Twitter to see what else…and sadly that is it. Twitter is over in my book. I use Friendfeed, and simply allow it to CC stuff to my Twitter account, and once in a while my 4,000 Twitter followers click on it.

  4. I am so not saying my name Says:

    I was hoping this would be about the *Real* abuse that’s going on on Twitter - I’m googling search terms, hoping to find that it’s being blogged about because Twitter does nothing to stop it (they suspend the wrong people, while they allow the abusers to continue).

    There are users whose sole purpose is to troll (seek out other users purely for the purpose of harassment), attack, intimidate, and threaten. Most of these get suspended for a week or a month, and then they settle down. However, one user in particular has now opened multiple accounts with “hatin” in the name, and trolls people in order to harass, abuse, and threaten them to varying degrees. He has a “hatin” website, where he “features” a particular “hater” or “haters” of the the week. He claims that he is doing good by weeding out these haters and making them public…follow his and his victims’ twitter streams for a week or two, and you’ll see how much “good” he’s doing.

    Often the threats have to do with publicly featuring the harassed user on this “hatin” website, and lately have had to do with bringing legal action against anyone who tries to stop them in a variety of ways. Now he’s calling it a “business”, no doubt to get around some rules or laws.

    This user has publicly tweeted, and posted on blogs online, that they have “contacts” at Twitter, and that their main account at Twitter is in a “protected” status. When asked about these remarks later, he denies them and deletes them if he can find them (but we have screencaps). When complaints are made to Twitter about this user, at first a brief suspension occurred (a few hours, the longest was less than 48 hours; Twitter’s usual suspension periods are a week or a month), but now nothing happens when the user is reported for abuse. The person making the report is told to read the Rules and that Twitter doesn’t moderate content.

    Yet other users have been suspended for far less than this person is doing, with Twitter citing an arbitrary “rule” that isn’t even stated in the official Rules - called “abuse of the @ reply feature”. That really means simply that you’ve tweeted to someone who didn’t ask you to tweet to them, and Twitter’s decided to moderate your content in your case.

    Users are starting to leave Twitter. At first they naively think Twitter will help protect them from the abusers, but they don’t understand or really believe the “protected” status of this abuser. He has “friends”, mostly female, who jump on his bandwagon, and together they bully and intimidate the heck out of people, to the point that they begin to fear for their and their families’ safety.

    I won’t name anyone, but since this sounds rather too ridiculous to believe, here is the website. He does monitor IP addresses and has used them & email addresses to intimidate people, so if your IP address can be traced to you, use a proxy to view the site: The various “members of the wrecking crew” are listed there, along with their friendly faces. He makes it easy for you to follow them on Twitter and see what they’re up to.

    In the past week or two he’s ratcheted back on the hateful attacks considerably, which is why now there are multiple members to attack people. I know all of this to be true because I know this abusive person and his wife (who sometimes fills in on one of the “hatin” accounts).

  5. ck web Says:

    wow, I’ve heard of starting controversy through blogging, but this is a little inprecedented. Since when has mainstream become so negative in the e-world? After all, tech-geeks have never been mainstream and now they are getting their spotlight, they are turning and running! Twitter has become such a networking and information tool, that even “mainstream” can get the hang of it very quickly. And, please do not forget what mainstream means, it means millions upon millions of eyes, which means millions and millions of clicks, which means millions and millions of dollars. Less we forget why the internet was created in the first place, so create a smaller world, and be more connected. Well, its working.

  6. Bonnie Says:

    When one company/person creates several 9 - 10 twitter accounts and post the same link over and over and over. Abusive. Those of us looking at that keyword are spammed by these accounts and have to sort through much chaff to get any real results. This is especially true in markets that are very defined and not heavily tweeted about or searched.

    I guess there isn’t much we can do about it. Or is there?

  7. Athul Says:

    I am a new reader of you 🙂 Liked you so much

  8. Dorian Says:

    Hello Henry
    If you ever tried to report an abuse to twitter you will have noticed that the only way is to create an twitter account. I think this is verry rude. I have received an scam invitation to twitter with an link to a pishing page on twitter. Since this wasn’t the first time i decided to report this user. The unpleasant surprise was when i browsed twitter to find some email for abuse reporting. It isn’t ! Only a twitter user can report abuse.
    If you google for “twitter abuse” your page comes first , good work for twitter!!
    Please escuse my bad english , nice article , I liked-it

  9. SEYHAN Says:

    reader of you

  10. Michael Says:

    Unfortunately 90% of the content on Twitter has become useless, which you would think with the 140 character limit would be impossible. Still people find news ways to waste those few characters.

  11. Vinnie Alonzo Says:

    Having a Twitter is the latest of all this social media that has taken over the net. What happened to picking up the phone or how about something really lacking, face to face conversation.

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  13. Says:

    WoW! Thank you very much for that enlightening article

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