briarwood: (XF Truth)
Morgan Briarwood ([personal profile] briarwood) wrote2016-09-19 07:48 am

Unscientific experiment

As nice as it is to see Gme of Thrones win big at the Emmy's, there are other (and dare I say possibly superior) shows out there. It would be nice if there were just a tad more variety in the awards. On another subject, I've been conducting a wee experiment on Twitter. It goes like this: see a "promoted" tweet (aka spam), immediately block the account that sent it. Unless it's from one of the few organisations I already follow. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum. Hardly a scientific method as I'm a cohort of one with no control group, but the best I could do. I had the faint hope that Twitter would eventually run out of advertisers to spam me wih, but so far that hasn't happened. Neither have I discovered a secret limit to the number of accounts you can block, which is kind of impressive. Some interesting results: Naturally, blocking one spam-tweeting (spweeting?) account doesn't block other promoted tweets (if only!). But it does seem that, after a while, they stop appearing for the day as long as I keep Twitter running in the background and don't reload. Most days it takes between 4 and 6 blocks before my timeline looks clean. Some days are more stubborn. Amusingly, every six weeks or so I seem to hit a critical mass and Twitter runs out of English language ads to show me. Instead I get a steady stream of promoted tweets in a different language for up to a week before English re-appears. The new language is consistent until replaced by English. So far I've had Spanish, French and most recently German. (When I get a language I can't even identify I'll consider the experiment a success!) I tried not blocking the foreign language accounts (ads are less irritating if I can't understand them) but I still got English back after a week. Very occasionally (twice since I began running this experiment roughly six months ago), I get a spam-free day! I conclude it's worth continuing to block for this reward. Also there's more spam in the twitter apps than if you access twitter using a browser. So I uninstalled the apps and bookmarked the site instead. I suspect that, since I have to click the account in order to block it, this translates as revenue for Twitter. This may be counter-productive, but if it's the price of screwing with them, I'm satisfied.

Post a comment in response:

Anonymous (will be screened)
OpenID (will be screened if not validated)
Identity URL: 
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


If you are unable to use this captcha for any reason, please contact us by email at

Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.