The word ‘spam’ gets bandied about a lot. But what is it?
If we got spam in our e-mail inbox we’d all know what it is. It’s unsolicited, unwanted commercial come-ons from people we don’t know, right? There is even a tremendous amount of search engine optimization spam…
Those are distinctions worth analyzing:
- Unsolicited – Hey, I didn’t ask you for it!
- Unwanted – I did not desire to receive this message.
- Commercial - You’re trying to sell me something.
- Come-on – It’s a cheap ploy.
- People I don’t know – In other words, if my cousin Bob sends me an e-mail out of the blue one day and asks me to buy his lawn mower because he just bought a new one and doesn’t need the three-year-old used one any more, well, that’s not spam. Why? I know Bob. We have a relationship. I didn’t ask Bob to send me the message, I’m not interested in his lawn mower, he wants me to buy it, he’s offered up this cheap ploy to get me to buy it (and since Bob has always been a really cocky bastard anyway, he laid the guilt trip on thick), but it’s still not spam.
So how does this relate to Twitter? Well, some famous search engine optimization experts, who I won’t name, have taken to calling a famous book author a spammer. Why? Because he sends out self-promotional come-ons through his Twitter stream. Is that spam?
I don’t think so and here’s why: Twitter is an opt-in service. If I send you an e-mail newsletter because you opted in to receiving it, that’s not spam. If you receive a Twitter message from me because you opted in to receive it, that’s not spam either. You can opt out. It doesn’t really matter if I know you or not. In other words, Twitter doesn’t meet the five point test for spam messages. So why do these well-seasoned SEOs insist it’s spam?