Have you ever been to Facebook or Twitter Jail? If so then you know the pain and inconvenience of having your account suspended, frozen or otherwise held up due to some obscure rule that you broke or because of some complaining hater. This is the height of censorship and witch hunts where a mob can decide someone should be banned and they are or because a bot decided based on an algorithm that you don't assimilate.
I am not complaining for my own benefit as I have neither been in Twitter, Facebook or any other online suspension (oh but I am banned from Wikipedia for life, but that's another article). I'd like to think I've been safe because I have a large following, a high trust score and a big mouth. But maybe it's just because I have slipped through the matrix and not been targeted yet. So in the name of scholarship and wisdom here are my top things that I have done and you are probably doing that could get you placed in Twitter Jail.
Themelis Cuiper and Denise Pooser describe what it felt like to be in Twitter Jail:
@Themelis_Cuiper who's been in Twitter Jail at least 7 times said "don't take it personal because the rules are obviously illogical." He just shakes it off and reapplies.
@SimplyDenise who just learned the lesson after being in Twitter Jail for only a few hours said "it was like hearing the phrase 'Exterminate' by the Dalek's on an episode of Dr. Who.
Although I've been helping clients, friends and followers avoid Facebook and Twitter Jail for years, I must admit I scratch my head at these two being targeted. In light of the obscurity of these rules and the fact that we've all been breaking them for years my suggested rules of engagement are the same as always:
- Don't use websites that say they will help you get more followers, this is expressly against the rules and these sites make you look annoying to your followers by sending DM's and posting automatically.
- Ease up on the #FF. By all means don't stop giving shout out's on Twitter, but avoid the viral, meaningless stream that starts to happen where there is no point and no topic.
- Engage and get to know your followers. That way if you are ever silenced by the borg you will be missed and not disappear into cyberspace.
- Don't post to Facebook and allow your feed to go to Twitter or vice versa without considering both audiences. Give a brief intro or announcement as to what the link is about a. so that your thoughts will be seen and not just the link and b. so that your followers aren't bored with a constant stream of random links. No one clicks on links that are not explained, because that's a red flag for viruses.
- If all else fails and you end up blocked on Facebook, suspended on Twitter or otherwise censored by the social media powers that be. Brush the dust off your shoulders and keep it moving. Find another way to reach your audience and make sure they know why you are no longer using said platform.
A classic example of why you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket. As a Marketing and Public Relations specialist by training and education, I am hear to tell you that there are barriers to entry. You do not have to be part of or be accepted by the media industry to achieve your goals. Create your own following and tell your own story. That is what the Internet and Social Media is all about, don't let the major media companies who are trading on your value make you forget that fact.
Egredious mentions or @ replies.
Apparently excessive use of the @ symbol is a violation of the rules. What is excessive or unsolicited? Technically every #FF I get is unsolicited, especially since I hardly ever even rt those. Also what about the truly unwanted @ mentions I get daily from people who are simply just spamming? I just block them and keep going. Why is Twitter trying to police if they aren't going to do it well?
Apparently cleaning up your profile by unfollowing a large amount of users is against the rules. So no matter how busy you are, you should set aside a few days so you can do this little by little. Also what about the users who follow 20k people and then unfollow half or all but 50. This also happens to me regularly. That's why I am not following anyone who doesn't follow back except for the FLOTUS.
Following a large amount of users at once.
For those poor Twitter users who are actually just there because they are following users they love, don't get carried away. It's an instant magazine. Imagine that, there are some people who actually use social media as a form of information.
Allowing FB or other site to share your posts to Twitter.
Essentially if you post mainly on other social sites and blogs, then share those to Twitter you are breaking the rules. You must have personal updates in higher proportion to sharing links.