Spam is one of those things that seems hard to control. You delete some and it comes right back. It’s like the proverbial whack-a-mole always rearing its head. But no matter the challenge we have to keep whacking those comments and taking time to go further, by blocking and reporting spammers.
Whether they are humans or bots, spammers are relentless. And they really clutter and detract from a social media comment feed. Alongside those legit comments full of praise and support from our fans or peers, we find explicit and subtle variations of commercial spam.
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more about promoting yourself and creating a portfolio on social media, check out our post that explains how to get featured on pages like Tdot Shots.
Managing comment sections is important
As curator of Tdot Shots (@tdot_shots) and manager of my own social page (@tdot_mike) I find I have to delete dozens of spam comments a week, as I post and repost images of Toronto and the GTA for our pages. It gets tiresome, but it’s necessary to maintain a professional and curated page and comments section.
I see a lot of people posting on Instagram, for one example, and they sometimes seem either oblivious or uncaring about the spam in the feeds. I wonder why.
As a curator and fan of local photography, I look at hundreds of images a week, especially those that tag our page or use hashtag #tdot_shots. By my estimate I’d say 10-20% of social media pages on Instagram make no apparent attempt to delete their spam. Some even engage with the spammers! That boggles my mind! Why encourage them!? Whack them!
Evaluating images for reposting on social
When I evaluate whether or not I will use an image I consider a number of things:
- Is the photo top quality? (It must be a killer)
- Is the photographer part of the community? (They interact with others)
- Does the post have high engagement? (Lots of comments and replies)
- Is there any spam or negative aspect of the post image or text?
Most of that should seem straightforward right? Reposting images I think will be liked and get engagement from the friends of the photographer really helps. Considering whether the photographer cares about their images and portfolio is also key. Do they care?
Care about your portfolio
I am not a fan of the expression “photo dump” as it implies that the photographer didn’t care about selection of the photos and that to some degree the images are random “throwaways.” In the same sense, how a person manages their feed or gallery is very important. A carefully cultivated set of images, engagement in the comments section and a professional presentation will help me decide whether to repost your image.
As I mentioned I wrote about this topic a while ago and I sometimes refer people to that original post. My aim is to support local photographers and I will be more inclined to support you if you present your portfolio professionally.
Delete comments and report or block spammers
Sometimes I go a step further than deleting the comments and I engage the person to educate them about their spam and why it is a problem. Sometimes I encourage our followers to clean up their own spammy comments sections. I only do the above with real people – sometimes you can tell the account is a real person other times it may appear to be a bot.
I find that reporting an account for spammy behaviour and/or blocking them gives a feeling of satisfaction that outshines simply deleting the comment. I don’t do it all the time but it is a further escalatory tool that platforms like Instagram provide, so why not use it?
Before you delete the comment, consider blocking or reporting the person or bot who did it. I think it has some effect. If IG receives multiple reports it seems logical that the account might get banned.
I’d welcome your thoughts via email. Ironically and unfortunately there is so much spam in WordPress on the web generally that I don’t open these posts to comments (or expect legit comments here). 😀
Be well and enjoy your photography! Be sure to follow @tdot_shots and use our hashtag #tdot_shots on your Toronto or GTA photography. You should also check out our events. They are usually on Sundays before sunset. You can register for our meetups and photo walks at our site tdot.com/events.