#STPLive: How to Fight Twitter Chat Spam

As many of you know every Thursday at 4pm MST (6pm EST) we hold a Twitter Chat using the #STPLive. It's a great time and honestly something that the Sierra Trading Post team looks forward to each week. It's a chance to chat with like-minded outdoorsy folks and a great momentary reprieve from office life. In the course of these chats we, (@Andyhawbaker and @Keesetl) have been consistently impressed with your humor, knowledge, and love of adventure.

Then last week happened and @ADKinLA was forced to welcome the Spam Lords to the #STPLive hashtag. For those of you just starting out on Twitter, a "Chat" works by all of us using "#STPLive" in our tweets, by following the hashtag #STPLive we're able to see what everyone and anyone is saying. Unfortunately spammers know this as well and can automate hundreds of accounts to respond to trending accounts. This means that the more a hashtag like #STPLive is used the greater the chances that people will attempt to spam it. Or the better our conversations are the more likely they are to be spammed.

After our experience last week we've come up with two solutions to the spam problem. One is something that we will implement and thanks to great advice from @Johnsills and @PurpleOsh the other is something you can do.

First we may decide to switch the hashtag from #STPLive to #STPLive2 halfway through the chat. When we do this we will try to tag everyone in tweets with the new tag as well as start tagging both #STPLive and #STPLive2. While extreme this method will temporarily stop spam from invading the chat. The Spammers rely on algorithms to track how often a tag is being used. Once we switch from one tag to another it will temporarily stop the spammers because the new tag will not have the same amount of traffic as the old one. However this is only a temporary fix.

Secondly you can edit your own feed. Go to Tweetdeck.com, sign in, and create a stream only for #STPLive. See image.

Fight Spam

When we begin to see spam you can exclude certain words from your feed like "Followers" or other #hashtags. See image two. Usually the spam will continue additional #hashtags so the spammers can hit many conversations with each tweet or will all be asking to do the same thing like "Get more Followers!" By excluding spam specific words from your feed TweetDeck will edit out the spammers as you go.

tweetdecktwo

Cheers and thanks to all our #STPLivers! See you every Thursday at 4pm MST/ 6pm EST.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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