The recent update  of twitter’s  Terms of Service, brought to my attention this page from twitter support :  The Twitter Rules. Is it not a long read but it is quite educative as to what twitter considers as spam or spamming behavior.

It is interesting to note that there is no rigid definition of spam:

What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers

Instead, the following  14 points list of spamming behaviors is cited.

  • If you have followed a large amount of users in a short amount of time;
  • If you have followed and unfollowed people in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive follower churn);
  • If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
  • If you have a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following;
  • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;
  • If you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a trending or popular topic
  • If you send large numbers of duplicate @replies
  • If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies in an attempt to spam a service or link
  • If you repost other user’s content without attribution.
  • If you have attempted to “sell” followers, particularly through tactics considered aggressive following or follower churn.

The one  in bold has a special interest.

If your updates contain mainly links  you are considered a spammer!

Well this is news!

There’re thousands of accounts in twitter that do just this. How? By linking a blog feed to a twitter account. In such a case all twitter updates are links back to the blogposts.  Leaving aside the fact that these might not be appealing accounts to follow, considering link-posting as a spamming behavior  contradicts the presence of major media organizations in twitter and there are no signs that twitter actually objects their presence.

But if link-posting is ok for, say, CNN why would that  be bad for blog xyz with the 20 followers? The rule becomes a size discrimination.

Another notable notion in this rule is that twitter seems to still attribute value to the personal updates.  For me personal updates are irrelevant but that is not the issue. The issue is that one should have the right to write about the things he truly cares. If drinking coffee with his spouse is one of them, that’s fine. But if not, that should be fine too.

Besides, in order to have personal updates you must have a person too. With all these business accounts, what sort of personal updates is to be expected?