13 ways to spot a Twitter spammer

Here’s one: If your every tweet is selling something—especially the same something, you might be a spammer. Read the rest.


Ever since reading Mark W. Schaefer’s excellent post on the importance of managing your followers on Twitter, I’ve been more aggressively blocking and reporting spammers as they attempt to follow me.

Recently, I had a Twitter conversation with Sandy Hubbard, Mary Lower, Jenny Weigle, and Beth Granger about how to identify spam accounts on Twitter. Here’s the core of the discussion: 13 reasons you might be a Twitter spammer.

1. If you have ZERO tweets, you might be a spammer.

2. If your avatar is a Twitter egg, you might be a spammer.

3. If your avatar is clip art, you might be a spammer.

4. If your bio name and avatar name are two different names, you might be a spammer.

5. If you have no Twitter bio, you might be a spammer.

6. If you have only 20 tweets but 2,000 followers, you might be a spammer.

7. If your twitter handle has “in140” anywhere in the name, you might be a spammer.

8. If every tweet is selling something—especially the same something, you might be a spammer.

9. If your tweets promise 20,000 followers, but you only have 200 followers, you might be a spammer.

10. If your tweets consist of nonsensical words strung together, you might be a spammer.

11. If your tweets address a “person” without an @, you might be a spammer..

12. If your Twitter handle is in this format, “Woman’s name _4_ city name” (for instance, “Katherine_4_Chicago”), you might be a spammer.

13. If your bio dedicates space to where you’ve lived (the ones I’ve seen are usually formatted like this “Chicago by way of Moline via Naperville and Aurora”), you might be a spammer.

Question is: If we can so easily spot spam accounts, why can’t Twitter take action against the spammers?

Sean McGinnis is a director at Thomson Reuters. A version of this story first appeared on McGinnis’s blog, 312 Digital.

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