The day I (accidentally) spammed everyone on Twitter

26 09 2009

On Wednesday I attended the #TechPRDrinks night at the Savoy Tup with ‘the great and the good ‘ of London’s tech PR scene, organised by Will Sturgeon. There was lots of drink, lots of banter and a lot of familiar faces. I soon found myself having to answer one of the most important questions of our time:

BatmanSpiderman

Who would you rather be Batman or Spiderman?

Rachel Hodgson from Fleishman-Hillard was in the Spiderman camp, and Tim Hoang of Porter Novelli was representing Batman.  Neither side would give in, so we agreed to disagree. And then Tim and I agreed that Rachel was wrong. Batman is awesome.

The banter carried on to Thursday over Twitter:

SpamBanterSpamBanter2SpamBanter3 - Copy

In an attempt to put this baby to rest, I created a poll on POLLpigeon:

SpamThisEnds

Modest results came roaring in, and the POLLpigeon app sent a few public tweets on my behalf like so:

SpamPOLLtweets

I expected the app would do this much, which I was alright with. Then I shut down the laptop for the evening, and went to the world premiere of Rage with Skype, the world’s first interactive multi-venue film premiere (I’ll post on that later).

spam-boyUnbeknownst to me though, while I was offline and at the movie, POLLpigeon was sending DM’s to anyone following me begging them to enter this stupid poll. Add that to the public calls for participation and I began to look spammy indeed.

Flash forward to Friday morning, when slightly worse for wear, I fired up my laptop to find evidence in my inbox and on Twitter that ‘I’ was indeed spamming people by DM.  I was pleased though that people were either concerned my account got taken over by spambots or reassuring me that they would do the poll by DM. Both reactions, I find quite sweet. A taste:

SpamWarningsSo WTF happened? Well, apparently when I signed in with my Twitter username and password to create the poll, I must have authorised them to send out DMs to the people nice enough to follow me. This doesn’t really appear in their terms of service or anywhere else on the site.  And it’s particularly embarrassing when one creates such a completely ridiculous poll, as I did.

A couple public apologies later during my morning coffee, and a bit of access revoking for POLLpigeon (Settings > Connections > Revoke Access) and order was restored.

SpamSorryI know it’s not the end of the world, and probably not worth a whole blog post. But there was a weird feeling in my stomach as I read the concerned DMs and replies on Friday morning, worrying that people might get the impression that I would purposely spam them.  Not a great reputation to have for people in my line of work.

I was happy I got the benefit of the doubt though, so thanks.

SpamUnderstanding

fbzombie1In closing, screw POLLpigeon. I don’t mind coming off like a bell end sometimes, I just like it when it’s in a manner, time and place of my choosing.  On a more serious note I worry that seemingly harmless apps like this will take Twitter the way of Facebook 1.0, when you couldn’t log in without being informed you’ve been bitten by a zombie.

Oh, and since you’re dying to know, Batman FTW.

pollresults

[Big honking disclaimer, Skype is a client]

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