Reclaim the Stream: Why Community Behaviour Matters

Shortly after I shared this blog’s first post the #MLA13 stream on Twitter started to get badly spammed.

This is a basic, clear post explaining why spam happens (please do ignore the comments, though, which miss the point).

#MLA13 getting spammed is not surprising. Any busy hashtag will attract spam. (Spam is automated: it does not care if you are an academic or a Lady Gaga fan, or both).

Spam does not appear randomly and it does not get sorted by itself: it is important not to ingore it. A hashtag stream can be completely ruined by spam. We must not let this happen and we cannot just leave it to spammers and move somewhere else (this has happened in other conferences).

It is very important Twitter users are able to distinguish spam accounts and do not follow them or engage with them; spam accounts must always be reported for spam.

You can also help by reporting the problem to Twitter Support:

We need educated community behaviour, if many hahstag participants take the time to report accounts for spam as soon as they start appearing it is possible to control the problem and even erradicate it for good. Communities of Twitter users that take care not to follow spam accounts and other spam applications tend to have spam-free timelines, even when they mention popular spam-attracting keywords like iPad, video-games or sex.

Can we please all get together and help ensure the backchannel fulfills its purppose? Let’s reclaim the #MLA13 stream! For some of us, following remotely, it is the only stream…


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