Bloggers and Facebook: When are you spamming?

Social Spamming based on CC0 Public domain by Geralt
Spam­ming — the act of send­ing the same mes­sage indis­crim­i­nate­ly to (large num­bers of recip­i­ents) on the Internet.

The urban dic­tio­nary defines spam­ming as “the act of obnox­ious­ly doing some­thing repeat­ed­ly for atten­tion or in order to dis­turb oth­ers.” As some­one else, less than elo­quent­ly put it: “post­ing use­less crap on forums over and over”.

Oth­er thoughts about spam include:

  • Unso­licit­ed posts or emails.

  • Unde­sired elec­tron­ic messages.

  • Elec­tron­ic junk mail.

  • Often based on a lie, or

  • Tries to con you into tak­ing an action you would not oth­er­wise perform.

 

Not about Hackers

Not HackedIt is nec­es­sary to be very clear, this arti­cle is NOT about oth­er peo­ple hack­ing your Face­book account. That is, thank­ful­ly, a rare occur­rence. Flag­ging your post as spam is, sad­ly, because of an action you have tak­en. These are prob­lems, you as a blog­ger may encounter when using Face­book to pub­li­cise your own mate­r­i­al. Espe­cial­ly if you make use of automa­tion tools.

Web­site “That’s Non­sense” is clear “if your Face­book account is post­ing spam… some­where along the line, you’ve done some­thing you shouldn’t have”.

Maybe you have nev­er had posts flagged, pray that con­tin­ues. But this is about being pre­pared should it happen.

 

The Challenge for the Blogger

The chal­lenge for the blog­ger Is that they wish to get their mes­sage out to as wide an audi­ence as pos­si­ble and doing so at zero cost. Social media seems the ide­al way to do pre­cise­ly that. Yet, Face­book now checks all your mes­sages for spam. This means they may block mes­sages that you post repeat­ed­ly, you will see a noti­fi­ca­tion like:

 

We removed this post because it looks like spam and doesn’t fol­low our Com­mu­ni­ty Standards…

We removed this post because it looks like spam to us. If you did post this and don’t believe that it’s spam, you can let us know.”

 

Accord­ing to the Face­book Help Cen­tre “Spam involves con­tact­ing peo­ple with unwant­ed con­tent or requests”.

 

Are you Spamming?

Are you? Let us con­sid­er this for one moment. Your “Who should see this?” set­tings are nor­mal­ly set to either “Friends” or “Pub­lic”. You get a wider reach when set as “Pub­lic”. Addi­tion­al­ly, those posts are search­able, some­times they are vis­i­ble in the stream of a per­son you are not con­nect­ed to, which can be a good thing.

If you cre­ate a post with a link to one of your blog pages, is that spam­ming? That is an inter­est­ing ques­tion, because it is cer­tain some­one, some­where, isn’t inter­est­ed in the con­tent you post. It is sim­ply the nat­ur­al order of things and there is noth­ing you can do to change that.

Face­book goes on to explain fur­ther. “This includes send­ing bulk mes­sages, exces­sive­ly post­ing links or images to people’s time­lines and send­ing friend requests to peo­ple you don’t know personally”.

 

Public Messages

When the tar­get read­er­ship to “Pub­lic” then all mes­sages are sure­ly ‘bulk’. Arguably any mes­sage that pro­vides a link could be con­sid­ered spam­ming. It is a fine line to tread for any­one on Face­book. I nev­er post things in oth­er people’s Face­book wall, the news feed is the right place to post.

To use social media as a pub­lic­i­ty tool then it is nec­es­sary to under­stand how posts, par­tic­u­lar­ly auto­mat­ed ones, can be con­sid­ered spam­ming. Think about your actions for one moment. You are, above all, try­ing to entice peo­ple to go to your web site. It is true that you are not try­ing to con peo­ple, nor are you post­ing ‘use­less crap’.

By def­i­n­i­tion it is spam­ming. Yet, think about this for one sec­ond. How many posts do you see on Face­book that you ignore?  This is a large num­ber. Mary is post­ing about her fam­i­ly hol­i­day, Joe about his new motor­bike. Per­haps a work col­league has a pecu­liar polit­i­cal opin­ion you dis­like, but they share great insights on work prob­lems. Peo­ple have a vari­ety of feel­ings and expe­ri­ences to share. Some we like oth­ers we dis­like. You tune out the ele­ments you dis­like and tune in to rel­e­vant mate­r­i­al. Every­one does it. It is natural. 

As a blog­ger you are try­ing to pub­li­cise your mate­r­i­al, which has rel­e­vance to oth­er peo­ple. Many of those will use Face­book reg­u­lar­ly. Your actions may have some sim­i­lar­i­ties to spam­ming, but any mate­r­i­al you pub­lish is not spam, even if you are post­ing reg­u­lar­ly via an automa­tion tool. Read­ers have a choice.

 

Day and Night

Quality by Geralt CC0 Public DomainThe rea­son it is not spam is that good blog­gers will con­cen­trate on pub­lish­ing qual­i­ty mate­r­i­al. They will NEVER act obnox­ious­ly. They will nev­er delib­er­ate­ly post use­less mate­r­i­al with cyn­i­cal dis­re­gard for their read­ers. Indeed blog­gers should demon­strate good man­ners and act respect­ful­ly at all times. The dif­fer­ence between a blog­ger and spam­mer is as clear as the dif­fer­ence between day and night.

Blog­gers are doing every­thing with the best of inten­tions, try­ing to reach a for­ev­er wider audi­ence. Their actions are dri­ven by the need to find one addi­tion­al reader.

Of course con­sci­en­tious blog­gers do make mis­takes. They do pub­lish things that turn out as untrue. It is a part of being human. We err. There is no need to apol­o­gise. The dif­fer­ence between the blog­ger and the spam­mer is that blog­gers do things with the best of inten­tions and get penalised because of it. The spam­mer finds a way to live on the edge, spam­ming and manip­u­lat­ing any sys­tem they encounter, twist­ing it to their advan­tage and unashamed­ly make mon­ey from it.

 

Facebook Regularly Sends you Spam

Sponsorship by schnauzer CC0 Public DomainA mas­sive dif­fer­ence exists between a blog­ger try­ing to gain read­ers for his site and cor­po­rate spon­sored spam­ming. Even if their site does car­ry adver­tis­ing, the blog­ger is unlike­ly to prof­it great­ly from the action.

Face­book uses spam­ming as a tech­nique to earn mon­ey from pro­mot­ed posts. Remem­ber those mes­sages that say “John Smith, Max Bak­er and Bon­ny Cooke like Tablet Soft­ware”. They are pro­mo­tion­al posts. It should also fall under one of the cri­te­ria of spam­ming, which is giv­ing an impres­sion that isn’t true.

Bon­nie Cooke would nev­er “Like” this com­pa­ny, because she works for a direct com­peti­tor and could lose her job if she did “Like” that com­pa­ny. Also Max Bak­er will nev­er sup­port any pro­mo­tion­al page for any com­pa­ny, he nev­er press­es “Like” for any cor­po­rate page. Yet your news feed con­tains such infor­ma­tion every day of the week. They try to tempt you into tak­ing an action you would not oth­er­wise per­form by lik­ing the page or going to the advertiser’s website. 

Of course Face­book tar­gets pro­mo­tion­al post­ings around your inter­ests because the site retains a search history.

These posts fit my def­i­n­i­tion of spam. But of course there is a dif­fer­ence. Face­book makes mon­ey from this mes­sage. They make more mon­ey if you click the link. It is a form of adver­tis­ing. How­ev­er these types of spon­sored posts may be con­trary to adver­tis­ing stan­dards in your nation.

 

Making Money

I have no objec­tion to Face­book mak­ing mon­ey through adver­tis­ing but there is a dif­fer­ence between the impres­sion giv­en by these spon­sored posts and the type of adver­tis­ing I car­ry on Gob­blede­Goox. With this site it is clear what is adver­tis­ing and what is con­tent. Hav­ing a pan­el that says “Spon­sored” is one thing, the adver­tis­ing is clear.

Post­ing in a person’s news feed is, arguably, spam­ming, espe­cial­ly when a mis-truth is per­pe­trat­ed. Can we change how Face­book oper­ates? No. They do what they wish. It is after-all their site. Near­ly a bil­lion views a day is cer­tain­ly fer­tile ground to make mon­ey. My point is mere­ly to inform blog­gers so that they are pre­pared for all pos­si­bil­i­ties when post­ing on Facebook.

 

Be Prepared

I am not sug­gest­ing that blog­gers should leave Face­book. It is one of the few places where you can get the word out. There are plen­ty of automa­tion tools that you can use to get your mes­sage out through social sites.

Address­ing as large a poten­tial audi­ence as pos­si­ble is a nec­es­sary part of blogging.

Services Social - phone by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from PixabayA ear­li­er post has high­light­ed the capa­bil­i­ties of the Buffer appli­ca­tion. I also use anoth­er tool called Recur­post, to gen­er­ate auto­mat­ed post­ings on Face­book and Twit­ter. There are plen­ty of tools that will help auto­mate social media postings.

Remem­ber by the def­i­n­i­tion I gave ear­li­er any post entic­ing peo­ple to view our blog is poten­tial­ly spam. Yet it is still the best tool to inform peo­ple about the arti­cles that blog­gers pub­lish. Repeat­ing posts is not spam­ming, but just good com­mon sense.

If some of your posts are reject­ed as being spam, sim­ply go to the noti­fi­ca­tion screen and make it clear what you post is not spam. If pos­si­ble turn off all auto­mat­ed post­ing sys­tems for a cou­ple of days. This can help reset­ting everything.

 

Friends Have a Choice 

Your Face­book friends have a choice, they don’t have to read your post. They could un-friend you if they real­ly dis­like your mate­r­i­al. If they are stay­ing with you that your mate­r­i­al has value.

Gen­er­al­ly, I have pos­i­tive feed­back from a wide swath of Face­book friends, per­haps more so than for any oth­er social network. 

 

Related Material on GobbledeGoox

 

 

 

If you like this post then make a dona­tion to the upkeep of Gob­blede­Goox . What are your thoughts on Spam and Face­book? Some­thing to con­tribute? Please leave a com­ment. The images here were either cre­at­ed or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a pub­lic domain loca­tion, such as Pixabay.
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