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.