Social Spam: Why Your Social Media Strategy is BS

Social Spam: Why Your Social Media Strategy is BS

Here’s why your social media strategy is bullsh*t.

The definition of spam, in my opinion, has something to do with flooding millions of users “inboxes” be those email inboxes, DM inboxes on Facebook or Twitter. In the case of social spam the new practitioners have a thin layer of defense: permission-based marketing. In the case of social media rockstars like Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan, the should-be poster boys of good social and good marketing and “trust agent” outreach, we’ve got some poison in the system that continues to blind them to their own self-deception.

Yesterday I wrote an open plea to both of them to stop flooding Twitter with their auto-generated, auto-scheduled and duplicate after duplicate tweet-blasts. While they both responded differently, and as humans, their responses were defensive and weak in their attempts to either say, “let me do it my way, you do it your way” – Guy Kawasaki, or “I only get one complaint a week, one!’ – Chris Brogan, and to put me in my place of misunderstanding. Am I misunderstanding something?

True: I follow Chris and Guy on Twitter, therefore I have the right to unfollow them. This is the UFMF approach to bringing up their bs tactics that they both know are indefensible. This is the approach Guy took 3 – 4 years ago when we clashed over his “team” of tweeters who were tweeting as @guykawasaki. At that time his response to me and all objectors was UFM. (I’ve added the additional “f” for the implied emphasis that is usually in the tone of their responses. I’m sure if you Google Guy Kawasaki + UFM you’ll find plenty of his rebuttals.

True: I could unfollow or ignore both of these social leaders. Or in the case of Mr. Brogan, they could do me the UFMF favor of Blocking me. (Yeah, that’s pretty open and honest. Or is it cowardly? Perhaps I’m a troll, just out to clash with the titans. I don’t think so, but of course, Mr. B is entitled to behave in any manner he sees fit. He is after all a shining example of the “trust agent.” < Oops, that might have been trolling. I’m sorry. UFM.)

True: There are no laws against spamming Twitter. So Mr. K and Mr. B and all other practitioners of the auto-bot generation of social have every right to blast their 140c spam as repetitively and frequently as they’d like and there’s nothing you or I can do to stop, or even slow them down.

Except, we could tell them what they are doing sucks. #dontbeabot

I know that’s not going to take off, I know this post is not going to go viral or garner me any new fans. And I’m pretty confident that both Mr. K and Mr. B have wiped their virtual hands of me in their responses to my open letter yesterday asking them to STOP. Yeah, I know, my reach and reputation will have very little impact on their spam practices. And perhaps both of them are shaking their heads today saying, “That assh*le.” However, I’d like to point the asshat award back at them for trashing the social network that has given rise to their stardom. Yeah, fine, be a spam-bot on Twitter and show everyone who follows you what real-honest social media marketing looks like. YUCK. We’re doomed if this is the message we’re being given by our mentors and guides.

So maybe in the quest for influence and reach Mr. K and Mr. B have lost their integrity. Or maybe it’s just a simple math for dollars equation.

I don’t think either of them are hurting for $$, but this may be part of the strategy they’ve erected to keep that cash flow tap running. I don’t have any personal knowledge of either of their real lives other than what they broadcast on social media. Oh, wait, that’s more like “buy this” “buy this” “read this” “buy this”. It sucks what they’ve given us as the shining example of how you do social media right.

And they often respond defensively, because they KNOW they are doing it wrong. They know that even their faithful who will also block me on Twitter as a result of my heresy, are supporting them for who they used to be and not these egregious social spam practices. Both of these men know better. And both of these men are choosing to continue spamming for bucks.

But let’s widen our net for a moment and take aim at a few of the other spam-bot tools out there causing more crap to be broadcast as authentic information or communications.

  2. TrueTwit

Set’m and forget’m social. Each of these “tools” make tools of us all. And there are a ton more.

TrueTwit has effectively killed the DM in Twitter. 90% of my DM messages are “Johnny uses TrueTwit… blah blah blah”. Twitter needs to revoke their API. The others are just irritating. And muting all mentions of “” “” and others is simple enough.

And it’s fine that these tools exist. Just as all the Twitter apps allow you to schedule and repeat tweets. It’s fine that you CAN do it. But should you do it?


Dear Social Media Rockstar and Social Media Practitioner,

Auto-social is spam. Your set and release “daily” from is not content generation, it’s not thought leadership, it’s auto-generated curation. If that’s your idea of leadership, go for it. And I’m sure you’ve got hundreds of inspired subscribers. Go on about your business. I know I am free to unsubscribe, unfollow, or even block you.

But should you broadcast the exact same tweet to your hundreds of thousands of followers? Or even your 500 followers?


Be real.

Be real-time.

And be honest. (First with yourself about what you are doing. And then with the rest of us about how you are demonstrating honest and trustworthy social media marketing and communication.)

Come clean dear social media marketer. I am telling you today, that Mr. B and Mr. K. may be doing it “right” as far as the law is concerned. But their reactions show that they know better. Don’t start down the auto-social road. It’s a slippery slope that only leads to more auto. It’s like the gateway drug of choice for social media. If you want to schedule a few unique tweets for 2am, by all means, do it.

But if you’re going to broadcast duplicate messages all night and all day, you are doing it wrong. You are killing the trust we’ve begun to earn for social media and tools like Twitter and Facebook. Just stop the BS and stop spamming social.

#stopsocialspam #yourabot #dontbeabot #notrustagent

I’m a small voice. But this fight it worth it.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. uhm just unfollow them….or block them – I’m not sure why this is such an issue for you.

    its like running up to someone in the street and saying quit talking on your cell phone so much…sure its annoying listening to them but you have the choice of crossing the street to get away from it?

    1. I think leadership is a bit more about showing the way to behave. Those people taking pictures on the street are not writing books and evangelizing photography and lifestyle choices.

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