TrueTwit for spam control?

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I was setting up a new Twitter account for a client and got my first ever TrueTwit validation email. Here’s what the site says about its service:

By signing up now for TrueTwit Basic, all of your new followers are sent a validation request via direct message. If your follower successfully completes the CAPTCHA (or is already a TrueTwit user), you are sent an email indicating they are a TrueTwit-validated human!

I’m not a fan of auto-follow services.

And because I don’t auto-follow-back, I’m not concerned if a bot-account follows me.

Here’s the rub: if you sign up for the free service, then each and every person who follows you will get a DM demanding that they prove they are a person!

That’s not very friendly.

Just say no.

FYI: Here’s what Twitter says about automated tweets.

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Make it stop! End click-bait headlines now

CNN Tweet

Updated 24 January 2014:
Got Chrome? Then check out Downworthy: a hyperbolic headline project.

The tweet showed up in one of my journalism groups.


Most were appalled.

Click-bait: a tweet, Facebook status or hyperlink written in such a provocative manner as to make clicking on it irresistible. Ethics be damned.

I used to reserve the term for misleading text — promise one thing, deliver another. Now I think of it as emotional manipulation.

Irony alert > this image showed up in my newsfeed yesterday:


XKCD gets it in one.

About that CNN tweet

To be fair to the person who wrote the tweet, the reporter led with something similar:

An 11-year-old Illinois girl was stabbed 40 times by her 14-year-old sister, police say, and the reason why has many in the small Chicago-area community of Mundelein reeling in disbelief.


The truth, when it emerged, was even more shocking.

The 14-year-old, authorities say, repeatedly and fatally stabbed the victim — her half sister — with a kitchen knife because the teen thought she was ungrateful.

Contrast that story with this from the Chicago Tribune (the local big-city paper in the case):

A 14-year-old girl grabbed a kitchen knife and barged into her 11-year-old sister’s bedroom and stabbed her repeatedly, yelling each time that she did not appreciate all that the older sister had done for her, prosecutors said in court today.

Viral Mills Have No SoulAnd in case you thought the 3 AM Thursday timestamp on the CNN story meant that this was breaking news (it was tweeted by the breaking news account), police arrived at the Chicago-area home about 8:30 AM on Tuesday.

Organizations will continue this behavior — writing click-bait headlines — until we (web folks) stop making it worth their while.

We get the media that matches our behavior.

Screen cap of the CNN tweet

CNN Tweet

The first retweet shown here says it all.

Twitter Rules: a block isn’t the same as unfriending on Facebook

Twitter bird partially muzzled

UPDATED Dec 13, 2013: Twitter reversed itself late Thursday night, in response to a (in my opinion extremely hyperbolic) hashtag campaign: #restoretheblock.

The real news: “users will once again be able to tell that they’ve been blocked.”

However, media piled on, with predictably erroneous headlines (predictable, since headlines were erroneous before the rollback, too):

“I utilize the Block button almost every day,” Zerlina Maxwell told Mashable. Really? REALLY? Block instead of “report for spam”? Blocking people you don’t want to have to interact with, not people who are sending spam? With fewer than 30K followers? Color me skeptical as hell.

This is a good lesson in PR: Twitter had none.

They made a change in core functionality without warning or explanation. While I think there is a lot of merit in making the block feature act more explicitly like “mute” — since that’s all it really does, it’s not a “block” like unfriending someone on Facebook or breaking a connection on LinkedIn — at least most of the gnashing of teeth could have been prevented had Twitter simply talked to people.

The fact that they didn’t reflects my bias in including tweet number two below.

One of the potential perils of a non-reciprocal network like Twitter is being stalked or spammed. In other words, there isn’t a lot of protection available when you don’t get to approve the people who follow you.

Our only “protection” has been “the block.”

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