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Ever since reading Mark W. Schaefer’s excellent post on the importance of managing your followers on Twitter, I’ve been more and more aggressively blocking and reporting spammers as they attempt to follow me. This past week I had a a twitter conversation with Sandy Hubbard, Mary Lower, Jenny Weigle, and Beth Granger about how exactly to identify spam accounts on twitter. We went back and forth with our suggestions on how to ID a spam account, and I thought I’d capture the core of the discussion as a blog post. Hopefully you’ll find this a good resource.

Without further ado, here’s a list of X ways you to know YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER:

  1. If you have ZERO tweets – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  2. If your avatar is a Twitter egg – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  3. If your avatar is clip art – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  4. If your bio name & avatar name are two different names – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  5. If you have no twitter bio – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  6. If you have only 20 tweets but 2000 followers – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER. Think about your overall activity and your follower base. Anything that seems fishy, probably is.
  7. If your twitter handle has “in140″ anywhere in the name – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  8. If every tweet is selling something – especially the same something – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  9. If your tweets promise 20k followers, but you only have 200 followers – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  10. If your tweets consist of nonsensical words strung together – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  11. If your tweets address a “person” without an @ – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  12. If your Twitter handle is in this format – “Woman’s name _4_ city name” – a made up example might look like this “Katherine_4_Chicago” – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER.
  13. If your bio talks a lot about where you’ve lived in the last – YOU MIGHT BE A SPAMMER – The ones I’ve seen are usually formatted like this “Chicago by way of Moline via Naperville and Aurora.”

So there you have it.

13 ways to know if you’re a spammer.

My bigger issue is this- if we can so easily spot these accounts, why can’t Twitter take proactive actions against them?

What’s your experience? Any tips you can share for spotting spam accounts on Twitter? Hopefully you’ll find this post a useful resource.

UPDATE

Twitter friend Robin Davidson of Six Degrees Web Design in Pittsburgh penned a great how to post filled with instructions on how to remove and report spammers from a variety of twitter clients. Timely and very complimentary to this post, so check it out.

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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on