When I block a commercial user on Twitter I hashtag it #dmblock, a few people have assumed [almost] rightly that DM stands for Direct Message. It could do, buy actually I intended it to stand for Direct Marketing – it could also stand for Data Mining.
Last night on Twitter I referred to the fact I was drinking wine. Not interesting, but true. During the following few hours I had four new followers that all appeared to be in some way concerned with wine; whether they were selling wine, writing about wine .. whatever. This is nothing new, but it’s definitely on the increase. If you look critically at your Twitter followers you’ll probably realise that a hell of a lot of them are in some way following you in order to (please excuse my non-marketing background) sell you stuff. Whether they are humans or ‘bots’, they are profiling you.
I use Twitter to promote myself, (many people do), but in general it’s a mutual exchange between like-minded people. Having hundreds of companies literally monitoring you to see if you mention things that could lead to a sale is pretty horrific in my opinion. The culture of Twitter is different to that of Facebook et al, because ‘friends’ don’t have to be mutual, and following people you don’t know is quite acceptable. However, I think Twitter, or the applications through which we use Twitter are going to have to change, because this is only going to get worse. (Spam 2.0?)
Is blocking actually effective? Your tweets are still public, indexable content. You enter into that by signing up to a service like Twitter. I concede by tweeting, or blogging that my words are more-or-less public property. However, the Twitter API makes the marketeers’ jobs much easier, they can neatly compartmentalize you. If it makes you as uncomfortable as it does me, block them! #dmblock