As of late, I have been mildly irritated by the disadvantages of using social media, namely the spammers and the shameless advertisers. However, because I find great advantages in using the freely provided venue of Twitter for professional growth, collaboration, and networking, I have chosen to endure these with a few strategies to aid in my avoiding such annoyances.
The first is a pretty obvious one to most Twitter users, the “Report for Spam” and “Block User” buttons. When I find that I have a new follower with inappropriate tweets or an @ mention that contains a shortened URL attempting to send others to some potentially malicious location, I am very comfortable using these two buttons to prevent the users, authentic or Spambots, from interfering in my online adventure.
More recently, I have seen spammers subjecting certain hashtags to their filth; one of the most unfortunate of these in my experiences is the ever-popular #satchat. I noticed this morning that a new hashtag, #satchatec had replaced this for some participants. It was not long, however, before this too was being overrun by inappropriate drivel from multiple tweeters with lewd comments and photos of scantily clad women associated with them. My only proposed solution to this is to develop yet another hashtag (which will likely be discovered by followers of popular hashtags who intend to sabotage them) or to develop a keen sense for who the major contributors to the hashtag are to identify who will pose questions and whose views you most want to see expressed. I follow these users to include them in my general Twitter feed. Certainly, this form of filtering will neglect some of the new contributors, but a re-direct to another forum or venue for continued conversation may deter the spammers from pursuing the conversation further. I am particularly fond of TitanPad.com or TodaysMeet as venues for open conversation which can later be referenced.
As for the advertisement disruptions on Twitter, I am willing to encounter these in favor of opportunities to win Twitter contests or to discover some new gadget, and Twitter seems to keep these sponsors to a minimum for the numerous positive elements that the social media giant presents. One or two ads appearing at the top of my Twitter feed does not do much to dissuade me from the wealth of resources I find beneath them. I simply scroll down.
Although I would love to see additional tools provided (which may already exist but of which I am currently unaware) to prevent the static in the Twitterverse, I am quite content with the discernment that I can use to navigate through the tweets and make my own discoveries fairly painlessly. The garbage that makes it into the Twitter feeds is more disturbing perhaps than some of the trash found strewn on the shoulders of a busy highway, and the reporting of spammers takes a little longer to execute than the process of simply picking up items to throw them away, but I am thankful to Twitter that such tools exist to maintain some level of appropriateness for those of us who wish to encounter new ideas without repeated exposure to the same menaces of spam.