Spam is in the Eye of the Beholder

Not all spam is malicious behavior or even malintent. But spam-like behavior is selfish and off-putting. So before you send that DM on LinkedIn, take a step back. And I apologize to everyone who loves SPAM. (They even have SPAM tacos here in San Antonio.)

What is Internet Spam?

Internet spam is canned nonsense. It’s meat you don’t want. It’s inappropriate, maybe unnatural. Here’s the thing I’ve learned about spam: it comes in many flavors. There’s hard-core spam and then there’s spammy, spam-ish, or spam-like.

“The classic definition of spam is unsolicited bulk messages, that is, messages sent to multiple recipients who did not ask for them.” Internet Society

What feels okay to one salesperson can be perceived as spam to the victim (or recipient). The bottom line is that what is considered spam is subjective.

I’ve started quite a few arguments on Twitter regarding my rants about #NOAutoDMs, for example. I think they’re spammy, other people find them convenient.

If you’re wondering if your behavior on Twitter is spam-flavored, then perhaps you can get some insight below. 

Some people think DMs on Twitter or LinkedIn after a connection are spam. Other people think tweets with just links are spam. It used to be that porn stars look like spam. On Instagram, a super hot guy with 8-12 posts and works as a civil engineer is spam. On Twitter, if you have 12 digits after your username/handle, you’re probably spam.

Too Much Too Soon is Spam

Back up and slow down when connecting online. Listen more than you speak. Let the relationship naturally evolve into trust. And for the love of God and all that is holy, look at someone’s LinkedIn profile before connecting. Make comments on their posts. Learn who they are. Then send a DM.

How Can You Prevent Spam?

The best way to prevent spam is to stop being pushy. Social media isn’t for cold calls.

Above all, put yourself in other people’s shoes and think about how your behavior online affects them.  That’s just simple courtesy.

This quote from the note “If You Wouldn’t Do It In Person, Don’t Do It on LinkedIn!” by LinkedIn sums it up perfectly:

You know “that guy” at conferences who shakes every single person’s hand, distributes his business cards or brochures like candy on Halloween and can talk nonstop for 10 minutes about how great he is? Don’t be that guy (or gal) — at conferences or on LinkedIn!

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Updated 20 Aug 21

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