Brands, Tweets, and Spamming Madness

During the second semester of my sophomore year of college, I roomed with an awesome girl named Kerri while my best friend was studying abroad.  We loved living together and hanging out with our other friends on the floor, including our friend Jason.  One afternoon I was sitting on my lofted bed while Kerri was working at her desk when we heard a knock on the door.  In walked Jason, who asked Kerri out to dinner and a movie while I watched amused from my perch.  She said yes, they went out, and then we all went back to being just friends.

Until I married Jason four years later.

For the record, Jason never asked me out to dinner and a movie.  One day while sitting at Whataburger enjoying white gravy and toast I told him that we were a couple.  He smiled and said that sounded great.  A year and a half later he asked me to marry him, and a year and a half after that we were married.

Every now and then I remember that he asked my roommate out on a date and he tolerates some mostly-in-jest harassment.  Twelve years and two children later, it’s a non-issue.  But you can imagine that it was off-putting to witness my future husband ask a friend out on a date.

Brands on Twitter – this is how it feels when we watch you spam that list of influential bloggers you purchased.

The first thing that I do when I receive a request to connect/watch a video/check out the LIFE CHANGING WOW YOUR READERS WILL LOVE THIS link sent to my @ on Twitter is go to the feed of the account sending me that tweet.  When I see the exact same tweet sent to twenty mom bloggers in rapid fire, this is the message I receive:

1. You believe that spray and pray is effective PR and that the technique translates to social media.  Tip: It’s not and it doesn’t.

2. My readers and I are of no genuine interest to you.  You simply forcibly put your information in my @ reply stream because you purchased a list of influencers and my name was on it.

3. You don’t believe in following the rules of acceptable social media engagement.  Spam is your friend.  Responding to you and eventually working with you means that I should expect more of this disrespectful behavior.

4. Despite your use of the word connect in your spammy tweet, you have no interest in connecting.  Instead you’re hoping I will retweet your link and somehow miss that you’re a Spammer McSpammerson.

I got over the fact that Jason asked Kerri out in front of me because what I witnessed that day was a gentleman doing gentlemanly things.  I was smart enough to wait an appropriate amount of time and then snag him for myself and am now married to the best man I have ever met.

Brands, when I go to your feed and see you spamming my friends, I have the opposite reaction.  I want to run far away from you and take my friends with you.  Maybe it’s time for this practice to finally end?


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  • Amy, thank you soo much for writing this! It kills me when people tweet links at me & yet they have never bothered to say hello, half of them don’t even follow me. There’s a special place in hell for people who do this & also urge me to share it with all my “mommy blogger friends”

    • YES! Oh my goodness, YES! I forgot to mention that half the time they aren’t even following me. How about spending two whole tweets on me, the first being an introduction. Goodness, yes…

  • Oh, I see you use the same technique I do. I ALWAYS check the previous tweets if it feels like a spray and pray. And if it is, I ignore.

    And as for Jason? I think he owes you dinner and a movie, college style/

    • Fast food then sneaking our own snacks into the theater?

      • I always wore a coat with pockets big enough for a can of soda 😉

        • I once went on a date to the dollar theater that showed totally lame movies and the guy still snuck in his own soda. And actually, not sure at all that it counted as a date since he brought his female best friend along. In retrospect it was three friends seeing a crappy movie and two of those friends making out when they got back to the dorms.

  • You called “dibs” on your hubby – love it 🙂 This has been happening to me lately too actually, only with random invites to join Twitter chats from people I don’t even know whatsoever. It’s pretty awkward and very spammy. Not good marketing at all. Thanks for writing this and setting peeps straight!

    • I get those party ones, too! I always ask, did I sign up for your party announcements? Did I RSVP somewhere and don’t remember? They generally apologize, but wouldn’t it be so much better if they weren’t advised to try these practices in the first place?

    • Janet, I get DM’s about twitter parties too, usually from people I barely know for products that have no relevance to me. I love when they tell me how much “fun” it will be.

  • Unrelated to the spam part, but instead to the anecdote part…The first date my husband and I ever went on was a double date when we were with other people.

  • Plus, Deepak’s whole empire is built on – well, not sure what it’s built on beyond taking advantage of people with fake help.

    But more importantly, Whataburger.

  • I’m sitting here visualizing your people against Deepak’s people in a video done like “Gangnam Style” I think we’d win but also think I better go take a nap now

  • Amen and Hallelujah!. The moment someone follows me on Twitter I check out their tweet stream to see what I’m dealing with before I decide to follow back. When they @ me though or I see that they’ve @t’d (it’s a word) a friend, I head straight to their profile to check them out.

    Huge lesson to be learned here and I hope that it gets across to even ONE brand.

    And you know my love story but when I met my husband, I didn’t even LIKE him. I thought he was a pain. Moral of story: take the time to get to know me and let me get to know you. Then let me fall in love with you.

  • anne hill

    really? you felt jealous? lol but you didnt say if youre still in touch with the roommate, and whether you asked her to be in the wedding. its kinda got a when harry met sally touch to it.

    • I didn’t feel jealous in the moment, but I did snag him later 😉 We did stay friends! She actually lived with us for a summer. And yes, it feels very When Harry Met Sally!

  • I will I could spray and pray (that they listen) this post to every brand I have worked with! Cheers Amy.

  • This is amazing! Oddly enough, one of my friends actually asked my husband out a couple months before I met him, and he was terrified when we started dating that there would be a cat fight about it.

    Silly men, don’t they know woman *always* talk about men when they’re not around?

    You’ve made such a lovely analogy for silly brands that likewise don’t get that we’re always checking into them behind their backs.

    As someone who has been on every side of this debate, I think it always comes down to respect and treating people as people. Not just online accounts. And it looks like that’s how you resolved your original situation so beautifully!

  • AGREED! I hate it when I see a copy paste tweet over and over and over in a brand’s timeline. Its a sure sign to STAY AWAY.

  • So true – yet, so many continue to do it, because it’s cheap and easy.

  • My hope is that more brands recognize the danger in behaving this way – the pure lack of opportunity to truly connect – to create valuable relationships. I suppose it won’t ever stop amazing me that MORE continue to behave this way… that they don’t see the errors of those before them. Good for you for making the effort..

  • this is why I love you so….well done. And I never, ever, follow someone that asks me to follow them. I’m a “hard to get” kinda girl.

    • Nicole, I feel the exact same way about the people who boldly request a follow. If I follow you back just because you called me out, what does that say about me?

  • I’ve never heard it called “spray” but what an accurate description. It drives me crazy when people (and it’s not always just brands) tweet at me asking for some sort of a favor when we have absolutely no relationship.