This one's a little trickier, and there have practically been dissertations written on what a “good social media citizen” is, what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do. For small businesses, this can be even more confusing.
FacebookFacebook really boils down far more to privacy concerns than spam because Facebook tends to do really good on the emailed spam to message inboxes. “Spammy” things that you come into contact with usually have to do with advertisements and enticements that are attached to quizzes, games, and the like. Your friends are usually the spammers on Facebook – Farmville, MafiaWars and all these games post a torrent of things to Facebook streams. While the posts are usually beneficial to other players of the same game, to those uninterested in adopting the 17th lost cow of the day are usually ready to tie their friends up and throw them in their Farmville Hay Wagon. While un-friending your friends may be tempting, you can clean up your News Feed in a few days by hiding applications (or people, if they’re really getting on your nerves). This post from the SocialPMChick.com Blog tells you how. While this is about spam and not privacy, keep in mind not every link or every application on Facebook is “clean” – there are Facebook viruses, so be careful.
TwitterTwitter is an interesting social media tool with its own inherent spam issues that are somewhat unique to the service. Twitter is home to a number of different types of spammers. Spammers on Twitter is also a bit of a misnomer because Twitter is a service that is designed to blow open engagement – some may see what I outline as spam, some may see it as good marketing. They tend to drive me nuts, personally, so I outlined ‘em. Feel free to argue with me.
YoutubeAh, YouTube… The comments section in YouTube is a little slice of the world on display, and sometimes, that little slice of the world is downright scary. Whether it’s spam in the form of what we traditionally think as spam or the famous YouTube trolls, a YouTube comments area can be an interesting place and has become notorious. YouTube Comments sections are pretty much like blog sections – what you can control is what people can do. You have a multitude of choices when you upload a video regarding whether to make it private or public, allow or disable comments, and for YouTube your choices are really just how much access to give the public and whether or not you want to moderate comments. While everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame these days, think very carefully about the possible reactions your video can get, any other people in the video that may be unhappy with it being posted, and especially consider how any children in the video would react to negative commentary before blowing an embarrassing video wide open to the world.
- 24-7 Spam Account – these are accounts that may have hardly any followers and follow hardly anyone, but they exist to repeatedly spew a marketing message into the Twitterverse so that when people search, it’ll be picked up. They don’t engage, they don’t talk, they just spew. If they start following you, they’re pretty easy to avoid – just don’t follow them back.
- Ambulance Chasing Spammers – these accounts pop out of nowhere when you are complaining about their competitors and offer to solve all your problems. It may be a follow and a reply, or just a reply, but they hang out on Twitter looking to jump into potential sales and drop you/stop following the moment they can’t sell you something.
- Broadcasters - they talk to only a few people (if any at all), but they constantly follow new people using automated software not to meet new people, but to get more people to listen to them and pump those follower numbers so they look like a Big Deal(tm) and hopefully sell you stuff. These people almost always have a Page Rank of 2 on their site, but offer to tweet pearls of wisdom that will get you a PR 7 if you just follow them. These folks often tweet quotes from other people just to fill their stream.
- Follow Back DMs – Automated DMs drive me crazy – I have yet to get one that wasn’t selling me something and didn’t have a spammy feel.