There is always a good enough reason to get unfollowed by followers. Ironically, earlier today, there was a trending tweet going in South Africa with the hashtag #WhyYouGetUnfollowed and this would (of course) turn out to be one of the main reasons: SPAM – or in my case – one silly unintentional MISTAKE. And BAM! Unfollowed. We will miss you, dearly departed…
This is how it went down for @CapeTown in Twitter:
Our Stormers just won the Bulls in a round of 2012 SupeRugby. There was a sense of euphoria in the twitterverse, no less by the account holder self, leading to a retweet by @CapeTown to all followers:
At this time, the maddened tweets were already streaming into a crazy tweet scrum, and caught everyone off guard (including @capetown who scrambled to plug the bursting dam wall – some how). But too little too late, and one hour IN, the same (un)welcoming message was still being spewed forth with no Twitter permission to update the status or reply to anyone as the API broke. A tiny social media disaster, that looks innocent on its own – but there were more than a hundred of them (now deleted):
shoutout to new followers – thanks! appreciate the follow.. @KNaisby @SusanSmit19 @KyraFrancis @FantasySci @Liezl_Kleyn @SabihaBadsha
And after the first few unstoppable front row shout-outs from the wings, in minutes, some old ‘friends’ became irate followers, quickly turning into wounded foes. A small angry crowd. So many were loyal supporters for days, months, years without spam. Now, No mercy. I flooded their time line and they were pushing back fiercely, clutching friends in intimate places whilst heads locked down together looking for an evasive ball to play. Game ON. Or over?
One more spam tweet from @CapeTown and I’m pushing the unfollow button. Wow. What fail.
You should have been there – it was a spectacular #fail from one always tweeting against spam. One after the other, the same tweet bombarded the the account like waves hitting the False Bay shores, and the app went berserk. Like someone says, no way you can type that fast. Truth. Sigh. There was no way to stop it quick enough, and this was a sure loss of followers. Don’t blame anyone. In fact, I do the same!! (Maybe should be more gracious in the future, come to think of it).
@amz2110 sending DM spam.. tell me when you fixed, so I can follow again
On closer investigation, it turns out SPAM is the use of “electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately”. (WikiPedia) Guilty. I DID use a system and I DID send it out to some followers.
Not entirely indiscriminate though, as it was intended as a simple welcome message for the last few! followers. Except! I did not notice it will go out to the last 1800! followers that followed @capetown (since last logged into the application from iPad)… Thank Goodness I managed to stop the Spam (origin of the word described below) after the first 120 odd tweets – as 3 times as many were still lined up!
So, an official apology then: I am sorry I flooded your time lines today with SPAM. I did it. Yup. First time ever. This is the confession and the learning from it for future reference. OH, and the only way I could stop the stream was to disallow the application from my Twitter account via desktop (which was switched off at the time).
Maybe @CapeTown will get some of the lost followers back and maybe not. [UPDATE 2 June 8.27: It appears that six followers left without any questions asked, but I was suprised to be able to DM an apology to everyone else that complained in public. Wow! I appreciate it so much that you gave the account the benefit of the doubt based on previous positive experiences, or simply because that is how you roll. Thanks!]
I agree with follower @Marcel_Perform:”Capetonians showing good restraint with @CapeTown – hope that was a glitch!” Yup, it was. And I would like to believe the number of followers who remained – as opposed to those who left – shows how well the community has come to know the approach and intentions of the account holder. Again, I am under the impression of the responsibility that goes with many trusting followers. In person, I am a bit of a renegade (love that word) and risk taker, but I have to tread carefully with people’s time lines.
Playing with Twitter toys to stay on top of the latest tools to serve the community a bit better has its advantages, and it always comes with a risk that something can go wrong – as it did today. One can only be an early adopter in social media and be innovative with tools, if you can make, tolerate and owe up to mistakes. But it was not intended to mess with your Saturday night out on Town.
Finally, my day’s lesson learned is also this: never make fun of anyone else, or speak/act too hastily, as you may find yourself in the same position sooner than you could possibly imagine:
Apologies to the pink Bulls. And thanks for the breast cancer support, I may add. Not the only #pinkdonkeys around on this Saturday…
Love to the Followers that Remained… Thank you for a vote of confidence when it mattered.
Ps: If the Twitter police comes to get me due to some followers hitting buttons to report the account, and I land in Twitter jail – thank you for the ride, it was awesome. I have not been allowed to tweet one more tweet from the account since the ‘incident’ due to Twitter API rules… [UPDATE 2 June 8.41: I managed eventually to send out this public apology and await your responses and comments. As always it will be welcomed and appreciated. Please share my apology with your friends that may be interested to understand the context of your tweets last night. This morning, it was like nothing happened. Twitter is like that – the storm is over, the flood gone and we cruise again].
A wise person says it well…
“..experience seems to bury us under a flood of external objects, pressing upon us with a sharp and importunate reality, calling us out of ourselves in a thousand forms of action”.