Monday, July 15, 2013

Social Media Monday—Are You Guilty of Spamming?

Spam on the Internet is a big no-no. The definition has changed somewhat over the years and now includes social media posts as well as email. No average Internet user would ever dream of intentionally spamming, but without care we can be guilty of spamming.

Why is it called Spam?
Why is Spam called Spam?
There are a lot of theories about where the term SPAM originated, one school of thought is that it originated from the computer group lab at the University of Southern California. Those there applied that honorific because it has many of the same characteristics as the canned version we find in super markets.

Another accepted opinion is that it came from the Monty Python son, "Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam” since, Internet spam is often repetitious and worthless.

Regardless of where the name came from, we all try to avoid receiving it, and definitely want to avoid sending it.

5 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Spammer

1. Don’t Click on Suspicious Links. These can be found in email, as well as on social media and can infect you with a virus that sends spam to your contacts. If you get an email stating they’ve seen a funny video of you and including a link, do NOT click on the link.

Click LIKE with care!
2. Don’t hit LIKE on Facebook. I’m not talking about liking an update from a friend. I’m talking about some posts that originate somewhere else. They can even be those heartrending posts that include a picture and ask you to support a cause. There’s been a Facebook picture of a precious little girl that has Down’s Syndrome. The post says the little girl is someone’s sister and the girl in the picture doesn’t believe she’s pretty. The sister posted this picture to get likes and prove she is beautiful. Anyone with a heart would click LIKE. But you shouldn’t!

These posts are generated by spammers. Unscrupulous people use these posts to inflate a Facebook page, which they can then turn around and sell to a business. You give power to spammers by helping them circumvent the Facebook algorithm. You’re also helping them exploit those pictured in these images, which are often used without permission.

3. Don’t use the automatic scheduling option. Many ancillary programs, like Hootsuite and Buffer give you the option of letting the computer determine when to send out your social media updates. Most of the time this won’t get you in trouble, but in a small percentage of times, it will. The computer decides when the majority of your followers are online and schedules your social media updates turning that timeframe. At times the computer can send out all your updates in a short span of time and result in hogging the stream or spamming. You can see an example below of that in the screenshot of my inbox. I took this photo day before yesterday.

Notice the times on these posts and how close together they're scheduled.
I try to never schedule social media updates closer than 10 - 15 minutes apart.

Don't spam your contacts with unsolicited, group emails.
4. Don’t send out email notification of blog posts to large groups of people. This is tempting, especially if the number of your blog subscribers is low. But sending out unsolicited email to advertise something is the definition of spam. An occasional email about a post to several friends is probably okay. But I urge to resist the temptation.

5. Beware of Facebook tagging. Tagging on Facebook is a good thing—when used wisely and sparingly. You can identify friends in photos, or draw their attention to a post that interests them. Where it can go bad is when someone goes freebie hunting. It’s easy to pick up Malicious Facebook Applications that uses tagging to spread or create spam. You’ve probably come across some of these if you’ve seen any posts that promise a change or something cool will happen if you repost a picture. To avoid getting caught in someone else’s scam, turn on Timeline Review. This allows you to review any post or photo and approve it before you are tagged. Here’s a link to Facebook instructions on how to turn on Timeline Review

These are all things that can help you avoid inadvertently offending your friends and followers by becoming a spammer. I’d love to know what type of spam irritates you the most!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. Hello, you have described all the points very well and it is easily understandable. Now-a-days many people are spamming without even knowing that they are spamming. We must be very cautious regarding this, if not we may be penalized by search engines. It is very necessary to know deeply what the spamming is. is also a good source of understanding what the spamming is.

  2. Good stuff, Edie. I didn't realize automated scheduling would hog the feed. Seems like that defeats the purpose of automation! I like it because it's quick, but I end up tweaking the times anyway. Thanks for the scoop!

    1. Susan, it won't always, but I've seen it happen with several clients. In my book, it's better to be safe than sorry. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, E

  3. I'm so glad you explained the automated scheduling. I always wonder why people would do hog the feed like some do. Now, I understand why that happens. Thank you.

    1. Kay, sometimes people purposely post multiple updates within a short amount of time out of ignorance. Thanks so much for dropping by, Blessings, E

  4. Does this apply to blogs scheduled via blogspot, too? Thanks, Edie.

    1. Pam, it does not. When you schedule yor blog, you set the time and date, not the computer. Also I use Hootsuite, and I love it to schedule my social media updates. BUT, I set the time and date that they appear. I don't let the computer do it. Great question, thanks for stopping by, blessings, E

  5. Hi Edie -

    I'm going right over to Facebook and change my Tagging setting. Thanks for the tips.

    Susan :)

  6. Thanks Edie, you gave me a lot to think about. I'll be sure to more pay attention!

  7. Point 6 could be "Keep your self-promotional tweets and posts to a minimum!"