Who is the Spammer? The Spammer is the overkill, one-way promotion. The Spammer leaves junk mail in your mailbox, the Spammer does not worry about targeting the promotion. The Spammer just wants to hit as many people as quickly as possible. Wherever there is a large congregation of people, the Spammer will be too.
The Consumer is searching for useful information, for real recommendations. The Consumer may be shopping online, may be reading blog posts, may simply be listening and conversing.
I think the Spammer is having a harder time getting their overkill out to us (or at least getting us to listen to it). When the Spammer can remain anonymous, its much easier for them to deliver their message. When the audience has no control over what message they receive, the Spammer thrives. Today’s social media scene, because it is still so new, is like a playground for the Spammer. But based on the reactions to unsolicited information or conversation, I don’t think tomorrow’s social media scene will allow for an environment in which the Spammer will thrive.
Over the last couple of years there has been a gradual shift in control from the business to the consumer (it may have been happening earlier than the last couple of years, but that’s when I took note of this) . It began online, but with people connecting more and more from online tools, it is shifting to the offline world as well. In October, 2007, I was at the IABC conference in Kelowna, British Columbia. I was in a book store downtown and picked up a book called Punk Marketing. The title itself was what drew me in. The book talks about this same shift. I think it’s a slow shift, but it is definitely changing the way the way consumers and companies are interacting. This shift is also the reason I think the Spammer won’t survive. The Consumer has the control. The Consumer can pick and choose what information they want to pay attention to. When the Consumer doesn’t like something coming out of a certain Twitter account, they can turn off the noise by unfollowing the account. If the Consumer doesn’t like emails from a certain company, they put a block in their spam filter (or create a junk email address). Should the Consumer want to stay up to date with a company, they become a fan on Facebook.
The Consumer is creating the standards on social networks. For the first time (in my experience), the Consumer’s voice and opinion is what is driving how these are used. When the Consumer doesn’t like something, they voice their discontent. Through the social network, other consumers with similar opinions come together. If there are enough consumers voicing the same opinion, it will become a generally accepted rule that whatever behaviour the Consumer is against won’t be tolerated. This is why the Spammer won’t survive (in social media). The Consumer has always disliked the Spammer. The Spammer does not share in the ideals of the Consumer in the social media scene. Unless the Spammer learns to create value and add to the conversations happening around them, their spam will go unnoticed. Utterly useless information has no place here. If the Company is starting to understand that, I think the Spammer will get that too. And if the Spammer decides to play nice… well then I guess it’s not really spam anymore, is it?