“What I am…Is tired of spam.”

I received the following comment to my last post about #lrnchat.  I’ve decided to display it here, rather than with the other comments on that post.

Personally I think that #lrnchat, in twitter, is more akin to spam. I don’t follow #lrnchat and my twitter stream is spammed.

I get twitter – but using twitter for chatting – no. There are chat rooms, chat programs, and established methods of having real time chat that people have been using for a long time (IRC anyone?)

#lrnchat to me seems like using what’s new and shiny for something that it just doesn’t do well and annoys people NOT part of the conversation.

Dr. Pepper

I’m doubtful Dr. Pepper is the commenter’s real name, and the email address provided is of limited value in learning otherwise.  Dr. Pepper nevertheless remains covered by my blog’s guarantee of satisfaction.)

I don’t agree with the implication that an extended conversation on Twitter is ipso facto spam, any more than Twitter’s trending topics are.  “Unwanted” doesn’t equate to “spam.”

Clay Shirky makes a related point in Here Comes Everybody: people over, say, 40 are in general unaccustomed to publicly-available messages not being addressed to them.  You now hear all kinds of conversations, but for the most part, as Shirky says, “they’re not talking to you.”

I agree there are many ways to have virtual conversations.  $100 against an 8-track tape, however,  says that the average age of an IRC user in the U.S. is closer to my dad’s than to my daughter’s.  IRC has its virtues and its charms, but in terms of its audience appeal, it’s ham radio with a keyboard.

The notion of “established” methods being preferable — which is what I think is being argued — is peculiar; it appears on a blog powered by WordPress (not yet seven years old).  More important, the notion ignores ample evidence that dozens of people–many of them technologically sophisticated–choose to chat via Twitter.

In other words, they’ve made their preference known.

As for annoyance, I’m sure Dr. Pepper is annoyed.  (Maybe even at me, since I willingly participate in #lrnchat and will likely strike again.)  What could trigger the annoyance?

  • You follow #lrnchat, so you see #lrnchat.
  • You follow people using #lrnchat, so their #lrnchat tweets show up.
  • Someone you follow retweeted #lrnchat.

I see those in descending order of annoy-itude.

  • If you follow #lrnchat and don’t like it, then you get several hundred action potentials a week (mainly on Thursday nights).
  • If you follow #lrnchatters, well, that’s a thing they tweet about.
  • If you only see #lrnchat in retweets, then the yoke is hardly bitter and the burden hardly harsh.

I can’t do anything about any of that for you, though you ought to be able to see  possibilities to diminish the impact of the first two.

Well, if I knew who you were, I could block you, and *I* at least would disappear from your Twitter screen.  You could block me with the same result.  But that’s just me.

Many Twitter clients like Tweetdeck include features to filter for or filter out by individual, by topic, or by string. That last could include a hashtag.

Otherwise, #lrnchat and Twitter conversations in general are like the tongue-in-cheek “endorsement” in a newspaper ad for 19th century humorist Artemus Ward:

I have never heard any of your lectures, but from what I can learn I should say that for people who like the kind of lectures you deliver, they are just the kind of lectures such people like.

Thanks to CKL’s HotSheet for the quotation. And thanks to Russell Hoban’s favorite badger, who inspired the title for this post.

Jam on biscuits, jam on toast,
Jam is the thing that I like the most.
Jam is sticky, jam is sweet,
Jam is tasty, jam’s a treat–
Raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry, I’m very

3 thoughts on ““What I am…Is tired of spam.”

  1. Hey Dave,

    Interesting your pal Dr. Pepper is annoyed by a weekly educational forum of Tweeters, who by the way use Twitter to Tweetchat.

    I wonder if he is just as annoyed by the real spammers who search your tweets for keywords and then you learn they are following you. I’m not interested in hi-rise condos in downtown Colorado Springs, how to make millions of dollars on Twitter, nor some hoochie momma looking for a date. THOSE annoy me!

    My question to Mr. Dr. Pepper is he must be following one or more of #lrnchat participants otherwise he wouldn’t see the feed.

    Just a thought (and it does take a bit of managing), but I have two identities. I carefully allow and follow only those in the industry(ies) of Learning, Education, eLearning, Training, etc. on my LearnNuggets identity. My other identity, delanotho I follow the broad spectrum of interesting folks. Basically, one professional and one personal.

    My suggestion for Dr. Pepper would be to step away from the ‘puter on Thursday night’s and watch his favorite primetime sit-com of a celebrity I’ll bet he’s also following!

  2. Kevin,

    My guess is that Pepper follows one or more people who are regular #lrnchat participants, and so sees their comments and replies to them.

    That’s a lower lever of aggravation, I think, than if Pepper followed the hashtag. In that event, he or she has only one person to blame.

    If the aggravation comes as collateral damage because you follow people, filter the hashtag out (which Tweetdeck can do easily) at least during the chat.

    Twitter is crammed with the kind of messages you mention–true spam, meaning messages with no real desire for exchange. Just multi-level marketeers, get-more-follower schemes, and the usual malware come-ons.

    And so will the next tool be, as well.

  3. “Oh look! Shiny object!” Yep, the next tool will produce the same type of users complaining that if the world would just think and behave like them, we’d all get along.

    One of the reasons I got two identities was during one of the first #lrnchat sessions. I follow a popular radio DJ in Chicago on my @delanotho identity. At some point in the middle of that particular #lrnchat, he replied (yelled) telling me I need to lay of the caffeine! :)

    That got me thinking about a second identity and follow only those in the same industry so folks wouldn’t yell at me anymore.

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