Abusing Twitter Direct Messages, Spam and Classlessness

This morning I received a Twitter direct message from the official account for I hate JJ Reddick, one of the best Baltimore sports blogs I know of. I like these guys. I read the blog almost every day and follow many of the writers on Twitter. I live in Baltimore, or as we call it… “Smalltimore”. It’s a small town. You get to know people. You run into them all the time.

(To be fair, I have yet to personally meet any of them, but it’s only a matter of time. Most of the writers are one degree of separation away.)

As a Ravens fan, I am on board with them. I’m a fan. But I’m also a Red Sox fan, which makes for some good-natured rivalry with Orioles coverage. I’m not above a good-natured rivalry and it’s all in fun anyway. Or it’s supposed to be.

The Direct Message was simply:

Can you help me tweet out this link of Machado’s homer from last night? Appreciate it! http://ihatejjr.com/content/manny-machados-game-winning-homer-boston-last-night-was-glorious-gif

There are several things wrong with this DM.

For starters, on the superficial level, I’m a Red Sox fan. Machado’s homerun came against the Red Sox and it proved to be the game winner in the top of the 9th inning. My bio on Twitter is:

Author / Former Austinite / WordPress Developer / Football Fan / Ravens, Red Sox, Longhorns, Terps / Equality and Justice for All

Cut and dry. I label myself as a Sox fan. I tweet about the Sox. It’s obvious I’m a Sox fan. So when asked to spread a link that I don’t like, for fan reasons, I say no.

The second problem with this DM is the abuse angle. It’s a much more fundamental problem than simply a fan rivalry. Whoever sent this DM clearly didn’t know his audience, and it becomes painfully obvious that the account was simply sending a mass DM to all followers for the purpose of driving more traffic to the article. The article is written by a Bernaldo, who I don’t know and am not familiar with. For the sake of not making unnecessary accusations, I’m going to assume he was not the one behind the DM.

This tactic of mass DMming is frowned upon almost universally. The fact that it was to drive traffic, which is directly proportional to ad impressions, makes it spam. This is a much bigger issue than just a fan rivalry.

So I sent this response:

No. I’m a Red Sox fan. Please don’t abuse DM like this… ;)

Note the winky face, the international sign for… “Imma let you finish. I’m not mad, bro”

I also said, ‘Please’.

Within minutes, I receive another DM:

You’re a fucking loser just like your baseball team. Blocked.

And Orioles fans call Red Sox fans classless.

This is a small town. I’m surprised that any publication in this city would respond the way they have as, you know, word gets around. It’s just entirely inappropriate and unprofessional. No skin off my nose, really. However, when it’s pointed out that you made a mistake, complete with a ‘Please’ and winky face, I’d hope that most people would follow up with something more along the lines of: “Whoops. Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to spam you. Hope Machado does it again to your boys tonight”.

But hey, don’t let a little good-natured fan rivalry get in the way of a good money-making traffic push to 4500 of your closest friends?

Untraceable: Light on plot; Heavy on message

Last night, my wife and I decided to go check out the new movie Untraceable starring Diane Lane. We both believe we got our money’s worth.

Spoiler to follow.

The plot was a bit weak and worn out. The FBI cybercrime division do their cyber warfare bit on Windows Vista machines, for one, which makes it somewhat laughable. :-) Putting that aside, the plot follows a serial killer through a tired progression of increasingly sensational murders, with an internet twist. The more traffic that visits the site with live streaming of a victim, the quicker the victim dies.

“We are the murder weapon” was the chilling verdict from the FBI in a national press conference that only served to drive traffic harder and faster to the website as viewers and chat room participants engaged gleefully in the torture and subsequent deaths.

The plot continues to an expected climax where the star of the movie, Diane Lane playing Agent Jennifer Marsh, becomes the last of the killer’s victims. Every step of the way, the next twists were predictable, yet still very interesting and gripping.

Though the plot was tired and overdone (something right out of Criminal Minds, actually), the message was clearly aimed at the YouTube generation of young, tech savvy internet users who are comfortable in a world of little human contact. Images on a screen are something to be entertained by, much like the television generation could sit down and watch Rambo or Die Hard and walk away laughing.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the YouTube generation. I watched this video, shortly before leaving for the theatre (which incidentally is hilarious). Guilty as charged.

The point is, the movie does a good job of sending the message. We got the memo. The plots weakness was balanced out by the well executed delivery.

3.5 stars.