This is a blog post that I first posted almost four years ago – and sadly is as relevant now as it was then.
More and more Twitter users seem to be using Truetwit in the belief that this will stop them being inundated with spam. But is this really anti-spam or is it just anti-social?
If you try to follow one of these users you will get an automatic message back requiring you to visit a website and take an eye-test masquerading as a security mechanism just to prove that you’re human and not a robot. If you manage to pass, you can then follow them. Superficially, that sounds sensible – but is it?
Why would anyone want to stop a person – or indeed a bot – from following them?
After all, it’s not your followers that fill your timeline with rubbish, it’s the people you follow; and Truetwit won’t help you there. What’s the worst that could happen if a robot follows you? Your tweets end up on their timeline. So what?
The real filter that’s necessary is one to prevent you from following spammers, and the best way of doing that is to use the grey matter between your ears. I’ll follow you if you look interesting, but keep bombarding me with get-rich-quick schemes or gushing tweets about “Awesome Software” and you’ll be unfollowed before you can blink. (After many years in the IT industry, I am firmly of the opinion that software is binary, it only comes in two kinds – stuff that works and stuff that doesn’t. None of it is awesome. I digress).
When involved in any kind of communication, and Twitter is just one such medium, it’s important every now and again to check for interference – is the message that was received the same as the message you transmitted?
Use a validation mechanism like Truetwit and I guess you’re transmitting “I want to protect my Twitter feed from spam, so please validate that you’re human and then we can be friends”. Unfortunately, what I receive is “I am so important and influential that you will have to jump through hoops to get the benefit of my wise words”.
Maybe that wouldn’t be quite so bad (although still arrogant) if there was any logic in using Truetwit – but there really isn’t. It doesn’t stop you being spammed, only your intelligence and discretion can stop that.
So, to save me having to send tweets to all you Truetwit users, take note: Follow me if you wish, but I will not take a badly designed eye-test to follow you back. If you really want to use some form of filter, at least make it human – such as this from @ProfDimond that I received:
“Thanks for following me If I haven’t followed you back, just send me an @-reply to say hi… it helps weed out the spammers & bots.”