Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If people like the message and share it, is it still spam?


This is a very controversial topic. Why? Because no one can agree on a set definition of this dreaded word: spam.

Consider this one: Send the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet. (Google Search Definition)

That sounds like a normal tweet, right? When you tweet, you are sending a message to whomever is watching at that moment. (That description includes the idea of indiscriminate as well.)

Alright, here's another definiton: Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients (Google Search Definition)

If you follow writers on Twitter who choose to use their accounts to market their books, their tweets are not irrelevant. Also, if you choose to follow, the messages aren't inappropriate either. You can unfollow at anytime.

How about this definition? Spam: to send unsolicited electronic mail or text messages simultaneously to a number of e-mail addresses or mobile phones [or through Twitter]. (

The operative word here is unsolicited. Getting junk email you didn't ask for or didn't realize you were signing up for is generally considered spam by most people. What about tweets? Are tweets unsolicited?

No. You opt in when you follow. You can unfollow at anytime.

Note: I don't personally condone the practice of sending unsolicited DMs or mentions without being given permission (directly or indirectly). Yes, there was some redundancy there, but I think it makes the point clear. There are lines I will not cross.

One last definition: to clutter or fill someone's email account [or Twitter feed] with spam. ( Slang definitions)

Yes, I know using the defining term in a definition is a no-no (but I quoted it, so don't blame me).

The part worth noting is the word clutter. I'll be the first to admit that @MasqCrew is very cluttered and under this definition would be considered spam.

This brings me to the point of this blog post: If people like the message and share it, is it still spam?

I'll let a Twitter follower answer this question.

Because of what we do here with The Masquerade Crew, I want as many people as possible to follow our progress. @MasqCrew will probably always be cluttered. That cluttered mess gets this blog traffic, which is why I'm able to do what I do. People retweet me on a regular basis, even the most spammiest of messages. So, that won't change.

However, I want to offer an alternative to those who are bothered by the clutter.

Introducing @MasqPub

The long term goal of this new account will be to report on our publishing ventures. It will also be used to inform about other Masquerade Crew activity, mostly on this blog. So, yes, there will be some overlapping content with @MasqCrew. However, I will do my best to schedule those tweets at different times, that way if you decide to follow both, you won't see the same tweets back to back.

What @MasqPub Will Not Contain

1. I will not use @MasqPub in general to promote authors. I may occasionally retweet something that I think is really great, but this should be rare.

2. I will not use @MasqPub in connection with Triberr. (More than a hundred tweets a day on @MasqCrew)

I haven't decided which account I will use to be my main social account. Since all of my followers are on @MasqCrew, I will remain super social on that one for quite some time. Even in the future if I'm using @MasqPub as my conversation hub, I will continue to interact on @MasqCrew.

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