An Author Platform Built on SPAM is Doomed to Fall

Is THIS what’s holding up your author brand?

Recently I put my foot down with the link spam on #MyWANA, because without love there is no community. Thing is, #MyWANA is my hash tag so my rules. A lot of the WANAs cheered and promptly began helping me smite the spammers on our beloved hash tag.

Some might think I am being a tad harsh, but I had actually blogged a couple of times earlier, gently asking those who liked to rely on automation to please refrain from using #MyWANA and use #WANAblogs, because no one expects community on #WANAblogs. On #WANAblogs, folks expect a list of links and resources, but #MyWANA has been reserved for community. It was to be the author water cooler. I didn’t mind a link or two from those actively engaging on #MyWANA, but any automation or link spam was not welcome.

Yet those greedy spammers continued.

One person in particular just makes me shake my head. I won’t mention any names because 1) anyone who has been paying attention to #MyWANA knows exactly who I am talking about and 2) I am just classy like that :D.

Anyway, this individual was notorious for spamming #MyWANA and all other 25 hash tags she could cram into a single tweet. Supposedly her goal was to help writers, yet she was apparently too important to talk to any of us or engage with us. She used #MyWANA as her personal non-stop infomercial.

Her behavior was so bad that the WANAs sent me direct messages, very upset that this woman would not quit spamming #MyWANA, so I told them to warn her then report her. I even tweeted this woman and nicely asked her to please stop spamming #MyWANA.

Here is the real gem.

This woman was reported by so many people that Twitter suspended her account. So what does she do? She creates a NEW account, which she again automates for people to follow her at her NEW identity…and uses #MyWANA.

Seriously? Lady, what is wrong with you?

Author Platforms Founded on SPAM are Useless

Take a good look at the picture below. Is this what you are building your author platform on? Does it look appealing? Does it look stable? Does it look like something you would want to eat? If not, then why would we feed this to others?

Ooh! YUMMY! Don’t you want a BIG bite?

Marketing has Changed in the Digital Age

In the old days, marketing was static and fixed because the marketer had no way of really creating a dialogue with consumers. The goal was to blast a message out to as many “eyes” as possible, and even though the ROI (return on investment) was never all that great (about 1-5%), there really was no other way to get traction for a product.

If our service or product wasn’t on TV, radio, in a magazine or a phone book, then it was effectively invisible. Direct mailings were common, but no company expected the person receiving the mailing to then photocopy the mailing and pass it on to friends and family.

Marketing in the Digital Age is different. We tolerated the non-stop ads years ago because, frankly, we weren’t expecting a conversation. Most of us hadn’t been on the Internet and the notion of “social media” was relegated to the realms of science fiction. Face it, in the 90s, none of us expected to be chatting real-time for free with people all over the globe. Mass marketing didn’t bother us as much because we had no basis for comparison.

These days? We are tired of ads, sick of spam and we loathe people who continue to shove this crap down our throats. We know it is possible to talk to us and to care about us and when you don’t? At best we ignore you, and at worst we report you (then blog about your @$$clown behavior).

Link spam is lazy marketing!

SPAMM= Selfish People Adore Mass Marketing

What I find really fascinating is that this woman who link-spammed #MyWANA wanted us to be on Twitter. She wanted US to be present so that we could drop everything and serve her agenda. But her? Oh, she was too busy and important to participate, whereas we had nothing better to do.

The shocking part was that this woman was sent numerous messages to please stop spamming, and yet, strangely…she never got them? THIS is the problem with automation. Some people have their “tools” set up so effectively that they don’t even have to be bothered talking to the communities they spam. Take, take, take and too important to give.

Oh, but we are giving. We give for FREE! FREE! Download our stuff NOW! Cheap advice and FREE! stuff.

Yeah, um. No.

Free really doesn’t impress us that much these days. People who are willing to talk share, and give first? Those folks get our attention because they earned it. See, social media is SOCIAL. It is like a big water cooler. After 4:30, it is like a big Happy Hour and by 7:00 a cocktail party. By midnight? We are your weird friends who won’t go home and who sleep on your couch and eat all your food.

Who in their right mind would show up at a company water cooler, Happy Hour, or a cocktail party with a credit card machine and a fistful of flyers? What if I just showed up to some bar and set up a table and started selling books? Consulting? Author coaching? How long would it take for me to be escorted outside?

Yet, this is what people are doing on Twitter every day and they are ruining Twitter. If everyone automates, then people get tired of looking at a non-stop infomercial so they go play on Pinterest or hack up monsters on XBox. The only way Twitter can help us build a platform is if people are tuned in and paying attention.

Solid Author Platforms are Built on Community not SPAM

Relationships are solid. Relationships will outlast fads. Relationships will help our platform remain stable even if Twitter collapses and Facebook implodes. Yes, relationships take time and effort, but we should not expect from others what we, ourselves, are unwilling to give. It isn’t right and people will (rightfully) resent us.

I know this is hard. It is hard to find the time to do everything, but here is the deal about love and kindness…a little goes a long way. We will remember the person who congratulated us on word count or who complimented pictures of our kids. We will have warm fuzzy feelings for the person who asks about our day. Make an effort to get on social media and just engage five times a day. Our goal is not to blast out marketing messages. Our goal is to forge friendships one post at a time.

Does your platform look like this? (WANAs in SoCal)

Or this? (WANAs in NYC)

Does an author platform get awesome-er than this? (WANAs in Anaheim, CA)

This is what a WANA platform looks like and YES, we have a Bouncy House (WANAs in Costa Mesa, CA)

So the next time some social media “expert” touts all the wonders and advantages of pre-programmed tweets or form letters, I want you to ask what you want your author brand to rest on…

This? (WANAs in Soho)

Or THIS????

Few people willingly eat SPAM. Spam in a can is a ham-like substance, and SPAM on social media is a human-ish substance. It is a poor substitute for the real thing. Can we take it in small doses (mixed with macaroni & cheese/good conversation)? Sure. But we can’t feast on it and expect long-term health.

If we are using automation and pumping out link-spam, then every tweet erodes our platform and taints our name. Do this long enough and just the sight of our name makes people angry, just like the woman who continues to cluelessly spam #MyWANA. She is oblivious to the depth she has poisoned her brand. When people see her name, they see red. Not exactly the best way to sell books and services.

I believe we need to all work together to clean up social media. When we see people who continue to fill the place with automation, we owe it to the social site to report them, especially when they abuse hash tags. Twitter is a lovely playground but we need to crack down on litter bugs (SPAM bots/link-spammers).

A huge shout-out to my rock star assistant Chad Carver who took all these lovely rather nauseating pictures of salty gelatinous meat stuff.

So what do you guys think? Am I being too harsh? Have you grown weary of the non-stop infomercial? What would you recommend we do to make social media more social? What tips would you like to add?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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    • Kim on August 15, 2012 at 10:21 am
    • Reply

    You had me at bouncy house.

    1. That bouncy house was a damn good time, Kim! We’re gonna do another WANA-Fest at the earliest opportunity. 🙂

  1. Great post and great point! I hate anyone who’s just going “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book” all the time. Its boring and crass! If you want to praticipate in a community, then fine, participate. But if you can’t be bothered to listen to what other people have to say then we can’t be bothered to listen to your crap!

  2. Brilliant post! You’re right; no one likes spam nowadays. People want to forge relationships and bond with others. I remember the first time on Twitter that I responded to a post by my favorite author and she responded back. There is no better feeling that realizing that, no, these amazing people are not too high and mighty to speak with us.
    We can have relationships with people that, twenty, or even ten years ago seemed so far away. That’s what social media is about and people need to realize that. 🙂

  3. This how I’m trying to build my author platform. On my MitziFlyteAuthor Facebook site, I post websites and articles on writing and Indie publishing. And because I write paranormal, I also post paranormal news items. I also tweet this websites and posts. Just like I tweeted and Facebooked this post. I haven’t joined in the MyWANA discussion yet (a wedding, a move and a trip intervened) but I will check it out.
    Thanks for this informative post – continuing to learn about this business.

  4. Not too harsh at all!

  5. Kristen, I applaud you and do not think you are being too harsh. Like many, I am weary of the non-stop “infomercials.”

  6. I do not understand the thinking of some people who believe that making their target audience angry will make them buy their product. It’s professional suicide. But these types just don’t ‘get it’.

  7. Sigh… 🙂 I think I love you! I’m with Kim… but you had me way before the bouncy house.

    1. Well I love you guys too, which is why I love TALKING TO YOU and hearing about your day and sharing your hopes and dreams and being there for your setbacks. THAT is the stuff that endures and I am so happy to share the journey with all of you.

  8. Yes and yes again! While many people have found a balance between marketing and promotions and writing I have not. I tend to avoid blogs with too many product promotions– I want to read interesting material, not be subjected to infomercials. But when I see them being so “successful” (lots of fans and readers) I wonder if I am the one doing things wrong. It’s then that I try to remember why I write and what I hope to achieve with my writing. When I see over-promoting on Twitter, Facebook, and directly on blogs I equate that writer with reality TV personas. They seem more interested in being validated by their perceived fame and success rather than their writing alone (or at all). Maybe I am over-thinking this and getting in my own way??

    This post was also a good reminder to be more active with #mywana. I tend to ask questions and read. It’s time to give back if and when I can.

    1. Oh yikes. I didn’t mean you were being harsh. My yes was more of a YES! YAY! You Said it! 🙂

  9. The she-spammer made a new account?!? Sounds like the makings for a tech thriller antagonist. Hmm…

    I love the points you make here. And those fun and love-filled photos of happy humans connecting says it all. A few authors have told me they don’t have time to promote themselves on social media. Every time I hear that, I wonder if there’s some level of selfishness involved there. In many cases, there is. What’s also sad is what the SPAM reliant and anti-social media folks are missing out on. (I mean look at you guys up there! ;))

    1. I wish I could have put ALL the WANA pics on this post. It was so AMAZING getting to know you (and other WANAs) on social media. But what we really cool was meeting you and it was as if we were lifelong friends, which I am sure we will be. The best people I know, the people I adore are mainly people I met online. Piper Bayard, Donna Newton, Jenny Hansen, Rachel Heller are all angels in my life….along with too many others to mention. And isn’t THAT richness?

      1. Thasss right! And I’m sending my hubby over here to read that “I’m an angel!” LOL… While I believe mightily in promoting your pals, the real fun in social media IS the social. Geesh.

    • patricefitz on August 15, 2012 at 10:39 am
    • Reply

    Buy my book! Buy my Spam! (By the way, have you ever had Spam sushi? It’s a real thing!) And of course, there’s the Spam museum…

    I think I know who this woman is, and if she’s the woman I’m thinking of, her “agent” brags about this client’s social networking skills and the awesome community she’s built up of people buying her books. At some point, it becomes kind of a giant pyramid scheme… the newbies buy the books (and the networking “wisdom”) of the oldies, thus propping up the pyramid. And Queen Spam sits atop it all, reaping the benefits of constantly evolving new platforms.

    Kristen, I applaud your decision to toss the Spam.

    1. Yeah, they train a new generation of Amway um, spammers and then reap the rewards of poisoning social media. I say we block them and report them and let it be known that we won’t be used. But maybe I am just more fed up than most. These people would be fed up too if they had to eat what they serve.

    2. Um…actually…my hubby loves Spam sushi and other Spam dishes. LOL. He was born in Hawaii, which totally explains the Spam love.

  10. I’m sorta new here, so have not used the MyWANA hashtag, but from your post, I’d say, No, definitely not being too harsh! Honestly, I don’t get spammers. I don’t get how they think that can work. The other day I was participating in a writer chat on Twitter, when someone popped in just to say “hey, buy my book.” She made no attempt to participate in the chat. Did she seriously think that was going to work?

    Love your acronym for SPAMM!

    1. Yeah, I was particularly proud of that nugget of cleverness, :D. Thanks for noticing.

    2. You should definitely join #MyWANA on Twitter. There’s lots of support and encouragement there, and nice folks to answer your questions. Basically, it’s where all the COOL kids hang out! Jump in… the water’s fine! 🙂

  11. Wow. You are really spot-on with this post! The spamming thing is as obnoxious as the daily calls I get from organizations wanting money and the politicians who robo-call my house on an hourly basis. People who do that do not get my money or my vote.

  12. I couldn’t agree more. Twitter has become a turn-off. I’ve been on it for about two weeks or so, and I don’t find myself gravitating to it like I do with Facebook. It’s constant self-promotion. I HAVE met some nice agents and authors, though. It’s nice to be able to interact with real people rather than seeing links and promotions.

  13. Wow, I’ve been traveling and haven’t checked Twitter for a few weeks, so I had no idea that a certain person continued to spam #MyWANA even after being asked to stop. I’m new to Twitter, having signed up only because Kristen was so enthusiastic about it. Other than #MyWANA, I haven’t received anything other than advertisements on Twitter. Thank you Kristen and everyone else who has moved to reclaim #MyWANA. I’ll be interested to hear what you all are doing to block Twitter spam and find interesting conversation. Are there any discussions left on Twitter? Hashtags you’d recommend a newbie check out?

  14. Since I AM so new to this, I don’t know how to subscribe to mywana, or is there no way to do that? I’ve seen some groups/lists where you can subscribe and follow. When I go to mywana, it shows tweets, but not an option how to tweet within the group. Yes I’m a newbie, so if I’m sounding pathetic, please bear with me and tell me if I’m missing something?! lol

    1. Just when you want to join in, type “#MyWANA” at the end of your tweet and Twitter will slot you into the feed. Simple. 😀

  15. I loved the post you wrote on Spam, and I agree with you that building friendships is one of the keys to being successful. Spamming is not good either, and I cannot believe the person keeps going with the Spam even when her account is taken away. You have to wonder why she keeps on doing it because it seems to be making everyone angry. I love your blog by the way, and I love reading all the helpful posts.

    1. Thanks, Jessica. I really appreciate that :D.

  16. Am I the only one singing the spam song from Monty Python? Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

    I freely admit Twitter is not my favorite shiny Social Media toy. Facebook is. I can get on facebook and hang out for hours, but Twitter, I feel like it’s scattered and too rushed. Even with my lists and columns. Still, I try to make sure I get on and hang out a few times a day because I have Twitter pals that I’m not facebook friends with. Right now I’m trying to balance my interaction on Twitter with my Triberr automation. Yes, I know Kristen isn’t a fan of Triberr, but with 50+ blogs to read on any given day, it’s what I need right now. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m learning.

    I figure as long as I’m on Twitter, really on there interacting with folks and not just linking, then I’m good. I want to be a good WANA and support my writer community, but I also need time to write my books. It’s all a balancing act. Everything in moderation, I suppose. Except Spam. That’s just vile and disgusting. I feel bad for Kristen’s assistant having to take those pictures. Ewww.

    1. The pictures were no big deal. It was eating all that SPAM after, before it went bad, that has gotten me into gastrointestinal trouble ;-).

      1. You have my sincerest condolences. I hope you at least made it fun, like the Hawaiian idea below, or in Mac N Cheese like Kristen said was good. Way to take one for the team!

        By the way Kristen, thank you for the sweet pic of us! Totally forgot to mention that in my comment because I was, of course, too busy singing the Spam! song from MP. You rock. And dang, we are so cute together. 😉

    2. Tameri – it’s not Triberr that is bad. It’s the way some people use it to just blindly hashtag the world that sucks. I use Triberr as a blog reader and a springboard for promoting my amazing blogging pals. But I still jump on Twitter just to chat and hang out. It’s a blast. 🙂

      1. I know and that’s totally why I have a love/hate relationship with Triberr. If I get lazy, then I’m just an automated linker. It’s remembering to get on Twitter to interact and that’s all on me. Not Triberr’s fault in the least.

        1. I love Triberr because it makes it easier for me to keep track of blogs I love but I only tweet out blogs I’ve read and try to keep the number down. Shortly after joining Triberr, I went a little crazy and tweeted a lot of posts but I didn’t like sending out material that I wasn’t reading just so I could feel like I was “doing my part.”

  17. I like the goal of five social media activities a day. any more is overwhelming and can be perceived as spam. And, SPAMM is a great acronym. Well done.

    1. I always make sure I remove any hashtags before I approve a post to go out and I’m careful about what I send. Try to make my feed have interesting stuff in it for when I can’t be around. Though I have phone alerts, so if someone tweets me personally, then I see it (only during my daytime, tho LOL). I check, to see if its something I should respond to. Of course, there are times when I can’t make eye contact. LOL gotta get the writing done. I’ve even quit sending my blog posts out with hashtags, though I will start adding the WANAblogs hashtag again. If I do send a link to #mywana, its not one of mine. It’s something I think others will find useful or interesting. But I’m even careful about that. Here’s a question, should all blog links go to WANAblogs, or just ours? Cause I’ve been hesitant to send stuff not mine to that hashtag….I probably think too much, except when i’m not thinking enough…

  18. I notice that most of the photos in your fine post show you and other women, which for me is yet another reminder of the fundamental difference between men and women and who has the greater ability to give and listen. I also notice that I would like to be in one of those photos.

    I notice about myself that I am slow to learn how to be social on social media, and I can see how flat books sales might turn otherwise fine persons into spam monsters.

    I notice that my follow feed on Twitter has an overwhelming amount of spammy stuff from writers, and gender is not a factor here. Man and women alike are saying Check out my book. Check out my book. Check out my book. Hey, did you check out my book?

    1. True, but it was a guy WANA who took all the Spam pictures for me. I have noticed a lot of the men who get on to social media bring their “business sense” on to social media and they do a lot of the non-stop marketing. But in the Soho picture is Vincent Zandri and Joshua Graham, both awesome male WANAs. Also on Twitter, @TechSurgeons_Dad @ClayMorganPA @GeneLempp @PatrickThunstrom @WrytersblockDH are some of my favorite WANA men-folk. I just haven’t made it to a conference in their area, but when I do I am sure we will see more guys :D.

      1. I love all those WANA men-folk! Add in Fabio Bueno, Gilliad Stern, Nigel Blackwell and Roy Street. Rockin’ guys!!

      2. Unless we’re talking about different people, I don’t think it’s @TechSurgeons_Dad — I think it’s @jaytechdad. 😉

        And you’re right, it’s good to see the mix of men and women in the group!

  19. So true! I work hard at twitter and facebook to be relational, and not only post what I want you to read. I probably don’t post enough, but I am sickened by these people that take over the airways 🙂

  20. Harsh? No, firm, dignified, and making it more fun to go back to Twitter (I had long since migrated away despite my marketing and social media background). Thanks for another great post and the visuals of real “community”~

  21. Great post! I love Twitter and have met lots of writers, readers, agents, and other book folks who offer love, support, and good advice. But lately I’m seeing a growing number of spam tweets, automated tweets, and tweeters who do nothing but try to sell their books. Go use a bulletin board, please! Don’t use and abuse your online communities. Other than that, I kinda like fried spam.

  22. Thanks for another great post. I love twitter, and want to hear about new releases from my twitter buddies, but not be bombarded. Sadly even some publishers seem to be encouraging their authors to spam.

  23. Great article! This has happened more times than I can count.:)
    Best wishes,
    Laura A. Diaz

    • Caro Kinkead on August 15, 2012 at 11:18 am
    • Reply

    Funny, but you just put into words all the reasons I don’t link my blog posts on Twitter at this point. I do not have time to be present on the service at the moment, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to just drop links and run. When someone says, “But you could automate,” I’ll just direct them to this post.

    1. I don’t believe in posting anywhere I am not present. Yes, i am a member of G+ but I don’t get it so I don’t post there. I don’t like automation so I don’t feed it to anyone else.

  24. I’m glad to know there were two different hashtags, one for the community and one for blogs–I didn’t know before!

    1. This was new info to me as well.

  25. One thing I’ve been trying to do when I follow someone, is find something in their twitter bio to comment on. So far only about 1-10 responds, but I’m in there pitching!

    Re: Google plus, I’ve started to see the signs of interaction there. I get the occasional response. I do share links there because I read that it helps my google search results and I’m almost invisible on google. 🙁 BUT I only share links there that I have read and liked. I try hard to make sure my feeds have stuff that I personally liked and found helpful.

    Still struggling with the twitter small talk, but thankful for the people who have answered my personal tweets. 🙂 And #mywana is too awesome to devolve into spam. Thank you so much for making it personal and interesting again. 😉

    1. As someone who enjoyed chatting with you today for a bit on #MyWANA, I think you do small talk just fine 🙂

      I feel your frustration about Google+. It’s a jungle of spam, but it’s getting better. When I post there, I’m almost always linking to something (not always my blog) because I think that’s more what people go to Google+ for, while Twitter and Facebook has more a culture of talk-only posts. However, I’ve always read the post I’m linking to and I always use it as a conversation starter. Plus, I only post there once a day (or less) so that I can actually interact with people when I go there.

      1. Oh, thanks! I always feel a bit Data trying to small talk LOL (moment of silence here for Picard in his riding clothes in that ep). And with twitter you can’t see the deer in the headlights looks. LOLOL

  26. You are not being too harsh. Not at all. Anyone who is deeply sensitive would have taken the hint the first time around. I agree that this is eroding the Twitter experience, and I hope that when people learn the depth of enmity it creates, they will try something different. But lessons are definitely needed for many, so thanks for providing this very good one.

  27. Kristen, I decided to let go of Triberr last week because of your post on spam and the #MyWANA hashtag. Not that I was spamming #MyWANA! But I felt uncomfortable with so many tweets going out when I wasn’t around to talk. Thank you so much for clarity on Twitter…when I have time, I ADORE twitter. Now that I’m backing away from a lot of my “commitments” (yahoogroups I don’t read, and LinkedIn groups I don’t interact with), I’ve got more time.

    Amazing, no? Hugs dear!

    1. I’ve cut way back on Triberr tweeting. Now I only tweet links to posts I’ve read and found interesting. I feel awful that lots of folk are Triberr tweeting me and I’m not reciprocating as much but I want to make sure what I send out is stuff I’d have sent out without Triberr. And I try to send it out when I’m on Twitter.

  28. Glad to read your take on the automation of Tweets, etc. I haven’t mastered that, and now I’m glad I haven’t. A lot of this penchant for spamming comes from writers who were told by their traditional publishers to go into “gorilla marketing mode.” Those were the authors at book signings that practically attacked customers as they came in the door. I did a few group signings with authors like that and decided never again. Even back then I had an instinct that going up to people as they came in the door and saying something like, “Would you like to read my book.” was a huge mistake. No wonder some folks hid behind a huge book dump. LOL

    I used to kind of like Spam, until I saw your pictures. LOL Not sure I would ever eat it again.

  29. I don’t think you are being to harsh at all. Now, I admit, I really want to know who this person is. Like a fly drawn to the porch light.

    I think you are absolutely right. I’m building my “online presence” slowly (painfully slowly) but I just can’t bring myself to use people for my own ends. I don’t want to stand on a “platform” of people that I don’t even know. I’m probably taking it to the extreme at this point, and potentially shooting myself in the foot, but…I think things will eventually work out.

  30. No, you are not being too harsh at all, Kristen. SPAMming is definitely the ugliest manifestation of a major character flaw.: “ME-first, and second and third”, etc .Scofflaws! Think about it. This same ilk takes cuts in the check-out line, zips into the parking space for which you waited 5 minutes with you blinker on, cuts you off on the freeway. I do hope it will stop at #WANA. It is indecent. My 2 cents.
    BTW: love your creative acronym. 🙂

    I shared this great posting to google +. I use it quite a bit.

  31. YES! — I was seriously thinking of deleting my twitter account just because I was so tired of the spamming and the “buy me” and the “get me free” taking over the “airwaves” – one day I posted a tweet that read nothing but: white noise white noise white noise white noise white noise, because that’s just about how it feels.

    I wish I had the time to clean up my “following” — there are some on there I followed because I either didn’t know they were spamming, or it was in the earlier days when I didn’t understand what twitter is.

    I have a small community of readers, writers, poets, friends on social networking, and I’ve built it slowly – just by being myself – lawd, which is sometimes scary *laugh*

    I already see a difference on mywana hashtag on twitter!

  32. ps – YES was to the post not to your question of are you being harsh! NO to that 😀

  33. Its a shame that Myspace went the way of the VCR, because it was a great way to promo your own stuff, other people’s stuff, and interact in blogs, all in one place. I made many friends there, and had thousands of subscribers. I never spammed, though I’d post a bulletin when I had a new blog up. That was it. Great people, great friends. I read other people, helped other people. I hope to build new circles of excellent peeps when I launch the new platform later this month. This post comes back to the old adage: People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

  34. good post, hate internet spam, but sliced spam fried crisply between two slices of bread…. heaven!

    agree — people connections matter.

    • charitykountz on August 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm
    • Reply

    AWESOME post – thanks for sharing. I doubt the people who do this atrocious behavior will pay attention but those who are walking the line unknowingly will likely start following this advice.

  35. Great post! I used to follow back just about everyone on twitter, but now I check their last few tweets to see if all they do is self-promote, spam or no. I want to make friends with real people, not salespeople or spammers. Thanks for bringing up this spammy subject! 🙂

    • Saturn Girl on August 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Kristin! Really enjoying your blog on social media. Even after a year on Twitter I’m not sure I’m doing the right things. It would be EXTREMELY helpful if you could give us some examples of the correct way to use Twitter–and by that, I mean how do you develop relationships with people online and yet not get sucked into some vampiric situations where people want to be your “best friend” overnight? How do I make friends with the thousands of people on there without spending all day and night doing so? Any hints, examples, etc would be so appreciated. I’m sure you’ve written a blog on this so could you please post a link to it? Thanks so much and keep fighting for a great Twitter without SPAM!! : )

    Saturn Girl

  36. Great post. I hate the spam. The only other thing I hate is cyber-stalking!

  37. Good defense! I don’t think you need to justify giving someone like that the boot but I feel better knowing that you are watching out for your community.

  38. Aww. You’re giving SPAM a bad name. Sliced thin, fried and wrapped with toast, it makes an edible sandwich. 😉 (At least my parents think so. LOL)

    • Peter Germany on August 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm
    • Reply

    Great post Kirsten, I’ve been thinking about automated tweets for a while and I’ve always felt uncomfortable about them and this post just confirms that bad feeling about automated tweets. I’ve never used the MYWANNA hash tag but seeing the strength of community here I think I should have a closer look 🙂

  39. Reblogged this on PeterGermany's Blog.

  40. Thanks for posting some truth about SPAMing. We’re real people out here and everyong likes to be acknowledged as such. I like the personalized tweets the best and skim over the rest.

  41. The spam comments were harsh – about the meat. If you cook it right it can be very tasty. (Hawaiian cuisine does some really cool stuff with it.) For the person on Twitter – they brought the hammer down on themselves and totally deserved it. Twitter is a great communication tool, but communication runs BOTH ways and, as you pointed out, that person was not engaging back with anyone. Smack ’em again if need be.

    1. I always like Spam with mac and cheese. But we need to be honest. No one plops it out of a can and wants to take a big bite. Same with automation. If they would “dress it up” with a little conversation and authenticity then we might not notice it. We might even appreciate their tweets. but plopped straight onto our plate? LAZY and YUCK.

  42. As usual, I must not be very observant because there was a male who was abusing the #MyWANA hashtag like crazy and making me want to smack him; I don’t know squat about some female spamming like this. Regardless, I think you are being a responsible parent of your hashtag who has nicely asked the kids in the backseat to behave and finally had to pull the car over and have what we call a “come-to-Jesus” meeting. Nicely done, Kristen.

    • Avery Moore on August 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm
    • Reply

    I am still pretty new to the Twitter thing, and it’s not been that long since I started ‘talking’ to others instead of only sharing links (which were never my own and never automated btw). Yet, everyone I talked to, from the bestselling author to the aspiring writer has been very kind and that kinda encouraged me to reach out more. Still learning, still very shy, but it’s fun so I’ll keep trying!

  43. Since becoming part of MyWANA I’ve intermittently used it as a hashtag when I tweet about interesting articles. My routine in the morning includes going through my inbox and if I find something noteworthy that I want to share with other writers I tweet about it. Ive no automation, I don’t tweet that much and I don’t do sales. My reasoning is that by providing valuable links instead of asking for something, I’m adding value. Is that Spam? I’m kinda confused at the moment, but not too much. Just a little bit.

  44. Hey Kristen 🙂
    Don’t you know, for all the lovely flowers to grow, there has to be some fertilizer? The world has to have both, although the rotten, rotting types of person out there a pain in the heinie, they must serve some grander purpose. Or at least, I hope so!!

  45. Love the photos! And I just can’t find anything about Spam all that appealing…

  46. Harsh? Absolutely not! I’ve noticed another, more subtle trend going on with Twitter as well. I seem to be collecting new followers way more than I used to, but I see in the profile they are the ‘author of new release/first time published/free to a good book home/indie published/insert your choice of description here’ author who must feel that following others is also a great way to get your info out there. After all, when I receive a notice of a new follower, I read their profile to see if they need to be blocked or not.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not some witty, wonderful tweeter who gains scores of followers with my awesome tweets. I’m an author working toward being published and an inconstant tweeter so I can’t think of another reason they’d follow me.

    And I’m going to own up and admit, I love the occasional low fat, low sodium spam on my salad. But that’s the only time. 🙂

  47. I love the Spam photos. They bring back childhood memories of fried Spam sandwiches. Aaargh!
    The Spam photos contrast nicely with the photos of you and the WANAS.

    • Lin Barrett on August 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, you are awesome. I truly, truly respect your stance on this, and I admire you immensely for it.

    Only Monty Python should be allowed to use spam.

  48. This is one of the things that’s frustrated me with writers. Every single hashtag remotely related to writing gets spammed with advertisements for books and links — and the links aren’t even original. They’re all things like “3 Things You Need to Do to Write a Novel.” And it’s made even worse when another writer blindly retweets them, not even changing the hashtags out. I think that’s what made what’s her face so bad — when she tweeted, one or more of her minions retweeted the message, not even changing any of the hashtags.

    I’ve been amazed at what writer brings to me in Twitter. I put it in my profile, and other writers’ flock to me. I follow most everyone except people obviously selling something. Then I run Twit Scan, and up pops long lists of people who are link spamming, RT spamming, and @ spamming. I can tell right away they weren’t interested in me, but only in spamming me, because they unfollow within the next few days.

  49. Now I know why I didn’t like Twitter when I first started getting involved with it. It made no sense to me. It was like reading the same words over and over and I couldn’t figure out where the conversations were. I thought it was my fault because I’m kind of slow with things. Now I know the truth. Thank you for that at least. I know I’ll still probably be slow. BTW I just sold my first manuscript to a publisher, but don’t worry I won’t be spamming.

  50. I’ve been talking a lot lately about how Social networking is about building relationships and you can’t have a relationship with a bot. Or maybe you can but I’m not interested in one and I don’t know anyone who is.

    • Tamara LeBlanc on August 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm
    • Reply

    I’m weary of the non stop info-ME-rcials, I’m sick of people never supporting and only trying to sell, sell, SELL, and NO, Kristen, I DON’T think you’re being too harsh AT ALL!!!

  51. So I really can just use the hashtag to talk about life stuff? It may sound silly, but when one of my kids GIGGLED for the first time today I was desperate to share the glee.
    ~i got distracted in the end and so didn’t get anywhere near Tweetdeck, but I wasn’t sure I should.

    Spam is one of the most disgusting substances known to man (great pictures, btw; they highlight the grossness perfectly) and I can’t think why anyone would believe that people want or care for it.

  52. Like many, I’m struggling with trying to find the balance. Generally, I’m on Twitter interacting twice a day and then I schedule in links to blogs and other stuff. I rarely tweet about my books, but it has reached a point where even useful material is link spam, and I agree that I enjoyed twitter a lot more when I first joined and had actual conversations. So I’m trying to find that balance.

    I hope I’m getting to the point where I’m balancing workload and social media a bit better and my followers know what to expect and don’t get fed up with the blog links. But it is still hard to know how much is too much when it comes to promoting on Twitter. Some social media experts say post links every hour but that would be way too excessive for me. I’m lucky to schedule in three a day and then get online twice just to chat.

    That’s why I adore this blog. I have no idea how Kristen finds the time to do everything she does! But I love that someone manages to! And her strategy works because she feels like a friend.

  53. This post is exactly what needed to be said. MyWANA means a lot to so many writers, including myself. I know it’s hard to get tough with people, but you have every right. Thank you for taking this stand… for all of us! : )

    • Karen McFarland on August 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm
    • Reply

    “It’s the Costa Mesa Bouncy House WANAs!” LOL!

    Yuk, I never did like spam. Thank you so much Kristen for posting this information. I was sick for over three weeks after I met you at Jenny’s. So glad I popped in here today. I have no patience for automated tweets. They’ve always left me cold. I must start hanging with the gang again on #mywana. I’ve just had so much going on. I hope you’ve recouped and things are rolling full steam ahead. It was so great to meet you! 🙂

  54. Oh my, I want to meet this woman so I can wag a finger at her. Tutu tut!

    Automation can be a real time saver, but it has to be used correctly. It is an add on, not the be all and end all. And SPAM is NEVER the answer. This isn’t 1998 early internet!

    Hmmmm, the sad thing is some people honestly feel they are doing good. That their methods are AOK 🙁

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

  55. Great post, Kristen. Only yesterday I wrote a post myself about why spamming sales links can be damaging for your author platform. To cut a long story short, my analogy was to picture yourself on holiday. You walk down the main strip and see two stalls, one with a man screaming at people to buy his product and ignoring those who do venture into his shop, another with helpful info on display, and engaging in conversation with his customers. Both are selling the sams product. Which are you more likely to purchase from?

      • TJ on August 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm
      • Reply

      Great analogy, Ryan!

  56. Kristien, given the spam we’re receiving, your hashtag must be posted on one of those sites as hashtags for writers to use. I think a lot of them haven’t even bothered to see what the hashtag is for — they’re just thinking, “Whatever it is, it’s for writers, so I’ll send tweets.” Might be a good idea to see if you can get the sight in question to take it off or at least add that it’s for conversations and anyone sending links will be reported as spammers.

    • Skunkboy on August 16, 2012 at 9:08 am
    • Reply

    Kristien, fried spam is actually pretty good on a sandwich. In my world you would be able to fry the spammer via an electronic burst of energy, but alas. I actually think you were not near harsh enough. My time is very valuable to me, and any time I spend reading, parsing, or deleting spam is stealing my time. I would love to have a place where we could post examples and name name names of these troglodytes. Please keep up what you do, I for one really need it.

  57. I don’t think you’re being too harsh. 🙂 And your SPAMM acronym is brilliant!

    I tweeted a request to a woman (this is a different woman than the “I sell a lot and have a column in a major online publication, so I know more than you and I can just ignore your requests” woman that you mentioned above) last night to not use the hashtag when she’s spamming links, as MyWANA was for conversation. At first she was a touch defensive–“I’m not a spammer”–but she also apologized for the automation issue that caused so many links to go out. So after I explained that MyWANA members are reporting those who spam the hashtag, and that I didn’t want her to get caught in that and lose her account just because she didn’t know the “rules,” she thanked me.

    In other words, those who care, will change their behavior when it’s pointed out to them. Those who don’t care, who ignore our requests to cease and desist, should be reported. We have the numbers at MyWANA to get Twitter to close their account if we all report the problem posters. Power to the people! 🙂

  58. Kristen – how do you feel about sending email to those in your contacts list with a link to your latest blog? I do this, by hand, and give a line for an option to opt out. I’d love to hear your take.

    • doreenb8 on August 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for sharing this post, I could not agree with you more.

  59. The only kinda spam I ever liked was when I was a kid … dipped in beer batter and fried!

  60. Yikes, sad to hear about the spambot abusing MyWANA. That’s really poor judgement on her part. Hope she learned a lesson.

    On a plus though, the photos of all those WANA’s is a treat to see! You should be so proud of how WANA took off, and it’s all cause your platform resembles those great pictures! Miss you and the WANAs I met in Dallas!

  61. You’re not being harsh. Just because another person wasn’t taught respect or common sense doesn’t mean you must allow for them to uber clog #mywana.

  62. This post is so great, because as someone just getting to know the blogosphere and twitter and book marketing, I was following this gal. I think it’s the same gal! And eventually, I was like, how does she have so much time to tweet SO much and still write books and do all of this consulting and everything? Well, that’s when I realized about automation. Then I got annoyed. Then I stopped following her. I did not buy her books, I did not contact her, I did not download any of her FREE giveaways!!!!!!

    Then I read Kristin’s post and I said, Wow, I might be new to this, but even I can spot bad marketing! Thanks!

  63. Thank you, Kristen, for once again making things easy to understand. As a pre-published author I’m working like a mad woman at everything and community is helpful at keeping the stress bunnies away. I’m still working on my shyness and I need to just jump into the conversations. I’ve come a long way since the days I first started reading your blog. Thank you Kristin and all of #MyWANA.

  64. I’m really sorry Kristen, but I guess I’m too old or stupid to understand automatic spam, what is it? How do you recognize it?

    1. Usually it is a tweet with a half a zillion #s in it. The people never talk or interact, just link after link after link.

    • TLJeffcoat on August 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm
    • Reply

    I’m a little late responding to this, but I wanted to say this is one of the funniest and most important blog topics I’ve ever read. The Twitter spam has actually run me off Twitter lately. I’ve been planning to go through my feed and just start unfollowing anyone nonstop spamming, auto or not.

  65. A little late to the party here, but I so know who you’re referring to. If it looks like a duck . . .yeah.

    I’m glad we took back #mywana I like reading what my fellow WANA members post about. I don’t want to be sold on your “service” supposedly to help me. IMHO she’s all hat and no cattle anyway. I love seeing the interaction back on #mywana

  66. Kristen, I add my kudos to all the rest about your action against the SPAMmers. I recognized one that I knew definitely was not a WANA and wondered about the appropriateness of those tweets. You stood up for the proper principles and gave us all a good reminder about having the balls to do so. Love ya!

  67. Recently I cleaned my twitter house of those who only promo’d and never interacted. I’d notice the same comments coming up on a 2wk or 1mo rotation. Others never had anything to say but “buy my book” or “follow me” or “like my fan page on FB”. Sorry but those things must be earned. It cost me a few followers in the end but I’m good with that. The only time I ever automated was announcing new blog posts. I’d auto two other tweets to hit prime twitter time on either coast since I’m landlocked in the middle.

  68. Okay – that opening photo of Spam is disgusting! Just like Twitter spam. Thanks for setting some rules for #MyWANA. I’d looked at it months ago and then avoided it because of the spam. It’s a much friendlier-looking place now. 🙂

  69. My sister used to cook spam with cloves, pineapple, and a honey glaze – it made it BARELY tolerable. I get so tired of spam and also those posts that are clearly formulas for trying to sell stuff. I think that an effective sales pitch is okay, if there is a ratio of blogs that aren’t sales pitches and then the pitch. Not sure what a good ratio is, but maybe four regular blogs one pitch. And sadly there are blogs that teach effective marketing and writing killer titles for a post, and the formulas are beginning to get a little overused. This is a great post, and I hope some of the spammers listen. Have a blessed day.

  70. Reblogged this on A Serendipitous Happenstance and commented:
    Again, she always says exactly what I think.

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