I hate spam. Over the years I’ve been an investor in a number of companies that address the spam problem, including Postini and Return Path. I’ve also been involved in lots of other companies in the email ecosystem and spam has always been something I’ve paid close attention to.
I’ve thought hard about Blam (Blog Spam), Spim (IM Spam), Skam (Skype Spam), and SMam (SMS Spam). A few times in the past I’ve thought about Twam (Twitter Spam) but Twitter has done a good job so far of dealing with most of the nasty stuff, the most visible being the porn-follower twam that they somehow managed to beat back (or that I’ve successful ignored).
Today, I got caught in a twam trap. I got a note from someone to try out a service. It’s someone I’d heard from before so I went to the new site and played around with it. I wasn’t terribly impressed and didn’t really get it. A few minutes later I got a DM from a friend that said “@bfeld none of the links on that page are active, fyi. tried Chromium + Safari”
I didn’t know why my friend was tweeting me that, but then it occurred to me that playing around with the software must have sent out a tweet. I took a look and lo and behold it did. I didn’t want that, nor did I set it up. But it did. Yuck.
Automatic tweeting from within applications is becoming commonplace. This is good in many cases, but unless the sender authorizes the actual tweet, it’s twam. There’s no opt-in dynamic around twam, so before a service sends out a tweet for the first time, it seems like good form is to make sure the user wants to tweet. Most, but not all, do.
When you develop a twitter integration, think this through. Don’t be a twammer.