Twitter Purge Would Have Made Stalin Proud

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: July 24th, 2008

Communist TwitterToday Twitter launched a purge that would have made Stalin proud.  In a single sweep they blasted the “spammers” who were manipulating the Twitter system and posting irrelevant tweets to people’s time lines.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are people gaming Twitter and there is nothing wrong with Twitter dispatching these spammers with haste.  But when Twitter started messing with my valid network of friends and colleagues, then they crossed the line.

This morning my Twitter followers dropped from about 169 to a mere 81.  I’m sure a few of those were spammers.  However, it was odd that after adding more than 70 new followers from BlogHer alone I would drop so low.

After some research, I found that it was not a spammer purge that zapped my network of Twits. Twitter for some reason blasted relationships that were perfectly valid.  Relationships that had active conversations.  Relationships that were working the way Twitter intended.

For example, I met Guy Kawasaki at BlogHer 08 and started following him on Twitter.  Guy followed me back.  Suddenly Guy and I are no longer associated on Twitter anymore after the purge.  I thought, OMG Guy’s profile was DELETED!

It turns out that he was still in Twitter and so was I.  Our RELATIONSHIP had been deleted for some reason by the Twitter powers that be.

So Why Did I Get Spanked Then?

In Twitter’s blog post about how they were detecting and eliminating spam relationships they mentioned that they look for sudden spikes in friend requests.

When I went to BlogHer 08 I had about 99 followers.  As I met people at the conference both online and offline, I started following them on Twitter.  By the time I left the conference, I was up to 169 followers (a net gain of 70).

After the purge, I was down to 81 followers.  So did all of the people I followed from BlogHer08 get kicked out of Twitter?

Checking Twitter’s Work

Twitter screwed up big time.  I don’t just add people by default to my Twitter.  I simply don’t have the time to keep up with people I don’t care about.  So as I was meeting people and exchanging cards at BlogHer, I kept a very loose record of the people I wanted to follow on Twitter.

A quick check shows that the people I added from the BlogHer conference were the ones who were expunged from my twitter life – erased old-school Communist style.  Tweets were gone, conversations were lost and relationships were broken.

SO I just went back and added them all again.  It took about an hour, but no doubt that will show as another “spike” in Twitter’s system.

What Did the Purge Do to You?

How did Twitter screw up when it blasted your contacts?  Not everyone has a short list of the people they added last week, so I am sure there are some people weeping bitter tears over the loss.  How were you effected?

What do you think? Join the discussion...

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