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How many times have you rolled your eyes this week at some dumbass corporate ad on Twitter or Facebook or any one of a billion other social media knockoffs? It's always the same plastic attempt to appear like they fit in with the Internet crowd, while displaying a shockingly transparent lack of understanding of what we're actually like. I have to admit, though, that as much as I bitch about them, they're truly my favorite part of Twitter. They just try so hard, and it's hilarious to watch them continually fail over and over when ...

They Desperately Try to Avoid Saying Anything Controversial

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When Twitter and Facebook first started to get big, companies came out of the woodwork like fucking roaches to nab up their accounts because, though nobody quite understood why, everyone was told that this was the next big thing. You had to have a Twitter account, and if you didn't, you'd be left in a pile of freshly fucked bankruptcy. Of course, when they got those accounts, they had no idea what to do with them, so most companies ended up with a sad, limp dick of a page with a few employees giving them a "Like" or a follow because they felt they had to. Like a hand job from a piteous, menstruating housewife.

The ones who did escape the ever-crushing sphincter of failure realized that the only way an account can survive is by utilizing the "social" part of "social media" ... you know, what it was actually fucking made for. And that meant being interactive with its followers, and not just posting up sales notices and company advertisements in hopes that hordes of inescapably crazy people would embrace them, regardless of their content. Here's the problem with that level of corporate interaction:

Via @Walmart

What in the unholy who gives a fuck? What kind of vapid, pointless bullshit is that? Did they seriously try to drum up Wal-Mart buzz by asking what flavor of milkshake people like? And who the fuck calls a milkshake a "chocolate milk treat," let alone puts additional ice in it? This kind of intellectually neutered exchange is a direct result of Wal-Mart's corporate oversight. See, a business that big can't afford to offend anyone for any reason, no matter how small. So all the life and interest is stripped out of every topic you can imagine, until the only subjects left to talk about on a social level are ones normally reserved for 85-year-old nuns.

Now understand that complaining about it doesn't mean that we want them making racist comments or taking part in the "rape joke" debate. But imagine them trying to have an actual conversation with, say, a Game of Thrones fan about the show. They couldn't talk about many of the more controversial scenes because they're mostly fucking, incest, severed dicks, throat-slitting, and giving birth to shadow demons. Content aside, if you talk about a certain game, CD, or movie, now other companies who have merchandise in your store can claim that you're unfairly pushing competing products. So any attempt at an acceptable conversation ends up as:

Via @Walmart

Now, understand that most "viral tweets" -- a phrase that's so bad, it actually proves the existence of Satan -- gain popularity because they're controversial. Some are extremely witty phrases that no one else has thought of before. You can cross most companies off of that list because creativity isn't their thing. Some are edgy and push the boundaries of good taste. Ah, there's the "can't offend anyone" hurdle, so you can count them out of that tactic, too. But these businesses rely on viral advertising to promote their brand and make the account worth it. So how do they do it without those extremely important tools?

The same way 13-year-old attention whores do it on Facebook:

Via @McDonalds

Trolls Flock to Every Tweet

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I'm going to admit something right off the bat because I can't consider myself a man if I'm not up-front with my faults. I have as much hypocrite in me as any human on this planet, and one of the bigger ways I double-talk is that I'm known for bagging on trolls while occasionally dipping into that well, myself:

Via @Toyota

Now, given, I don't do it much to regular people anymore because I'm still making a lifelong effort to shed my douche skin, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop fucking with company Twitter accounts. It's just so damn much fun, and it's so easy. I think the biggest reason people do it is because even though there's obviously a person behind each of those tweets, it's still a big, faceless, emotionless corporation, and as many right hooks as you throw at their chin, they just keep on smiling and taking it. It's like an infinite ammo cheat. And the ammo is handfuls of your shit.

Now, to my credit, I generally reserve my trolling for when they really deserve it. For instance, take a look at this small exchange and tell me that the guy talking to Windows isn't a company shill:

Via @Windows

That's only a small clip. The actual exchange goes on forever, and it's all worded in that "I am most definitely a manager, and I am trying to sell you a product" tone. Even if he's not a company shill, I still wanted to punch that dude's dick off every time I read another one of his "I'm pretending to be human" responses. So I threw a little shot at them, and fellow Cracked Addict (that's what I'm calling Cracked fans from now on) Ben Denny jumped in for a nice little tag-team backhand.

Via @Johncheese

Though we don't take it as far as, say, the people who create an entire account dedicated to following only one store, and then using that account to just bag on them every free moment that they had.

Via @Ratchetbluberry

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They Keep Inventing New, Awful Forms of Spam

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Think about this for a second, because I find this hilarious from a certain perspective. OK, say that @Cracked suddenly started posting shit directly to you in a way that was invasive and uninvited. You could always block them, but you're sure that they're doing this to everyone and not just you, so you do your duty as a good Internet citizen and report them for spam. Twitter even has a dropdown "Report for spam" button to make it quick and easy for you:


Now, take the same exact situation, only this time Cracked paid Twitter for the opportunity. Now, it's a "Promoted Tweet." Don't get me wrong here; I'm not bitching about it. I fully understand how ads work, and I am a capitalist to my core. But I find that whole setup to be funny as hell. "Don't let those assholes get away with that. Report them for spam, and we'll ban them. Oh, wait, they paid us -- these guys are cool."

The point is that companies have to be invasive to a certain degree in order to sell merchandise. A store that just sits back in silence, never running ads or reminding you about their name isn't going to last very long. But they all know that they can only go so far before advertisement turns into harassment, and then they become your enemy.

Via @Johncheese

I'm fine with either of the above ads. Given, I'm more likely to troll the one in my actual feed if it's stupid, but they're both well within acceptable levels of invasiveness. But what's not even remotely acceptable is what I'm about to show you, and it's starting to become an actual thing. Check this shit out:

Via @Walmart

Via @Walmart

I blurred out the names in that so those poor bastards don't get tons of dick pictures sent to them by crazy people, but nowhere in either one of those screenshots did any one of those people mention Wal-Mart before they inserted themselves into the conversation with an ad. No, the person who was running the Twitter did a search on "Call of Duty" and started sending out CoD spam to anyone who mentioned it, uninvited and unpaid.

And that, kids, is what we're headed for. It's the modern day version of cold calling. It's a digital door-to-door salesman, and these dumbasses don't realize that when they start pissing people off by doing this, they're going to get exactly one advertisement in the door before the recipient blocks them. Hopefully they learn that lesson quickly before the advertising world fucks up yet another easy money online market by not just crossing the line, but diving over it headfirst and tackling the person who drew it.

Now, I keep picking on Wal-Mart in this article, but in the interest of fairness, I did see them do one thing that I thought was really cool, and if they continued doing it, they might even put a dent in that whole "voted worst customer service" problem that they can't seem to break. And that exchange was this:

Via @Walmart

No, I'm not saying that they should get a crew working on sending out grocery list reminders to people. It's the gesture that they got right. Small things like this go a long way for customers, and if they can make the effort to do things like that on occasion, they're taking steps in the right direction.

Their Spambots Start Tweeting to Other Spambots

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It had to happen. In an ecosystem crowded with promoted accounts and automated spammer robots, we finally get this:

Via @CooperTire

Look at it. It's beautiful in its perversion. An ebb and flow of natural predatory madness as spam piles atop spam atop spam atop spam, all hitching a ride on the one company that paid real money for the publicity. It's parasitic advertising. Digital ticks and leeches, hanging onto the bodies of more advanced companies, draining what they can until someone notices them and pulls them off with the "Report for spam" button. These are the guys who ruin every form of online advertising ever invented, and now they've found their way to Twitter. It's impressive to watch it in real time as they latch on and then fall off one by one as more people report them, only to come back with new throwaway accounts. Like a Douchebag Phoenix.

I won't link to one for fear of someone clicking it and fucking up their computer, but regular Twitter users will know what I mean when I mention the "tattoo spammers." For those who don't know, they would show up into random conversation and post something like, "Hey, I love your tattoo" or "Is this your new tattoo?" Then they'd toss up a link that looked like it led to an Instagram account or an individual photo. But instead, it lead to a thousand kicks in your computer's balls.

Via Twitter

As weird as it seems, it must have worked because these things were fucking everywhere for quite some time. And as long as these things (both regular spam and parasite ads) are around, they taint advertising as a whole because they all get lumped together. They're all ads. Then all ads are spam. Then all spam is bad. Then all ads are bad. It's a never-ending cycle of association -- it's what killed email advertising for everyone; not just the actual spammers.

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They'll Always Be Viewed as a Public Complaint Department

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My favorite corporate Twitter account, by far, is @Windows. Every single promoted tweet they put out ends up absolutely flooded with complaints and problems. I have never seen one that didn't end up exactly like this:

Via @Windows

And those are far from the only complaints in that string. Here's the original tweet, where you can see them stretch on for days. And if you're not worn out after that, here's another one of their promoted tweets that just turned into a brutal public flogging. Ignore the dickhead trolling them right off the bat.

Now, understand that Microsoft dug their own grave by putting out one of the worst operating systems they've ever designed. And they didn't help matters by following it up with an absolute clusterfuck of a console reveal. But even if you set all that aside, the fact is people are going to bitch about your product, and that Twitter account is their easiest point of contact with you. So if they're in McDonald's and their order is wrong, chances are they already have a phone in hand, tapping on a keyboard ... like my favorite complaint of all time:

Via @_JDegraFF

Not to beat a dead horse, but Walmart is a great example of this. Their customer service is notoriously bad, so instead of waiting for a bitchy manager or some rude piece of shit behind the customer service counter, many people just sign into Twitter and start complaining to them. If you go to their Twitter page and make sure the replies are turned on, you'll see this message (or one very similar) quite a bit:

Via @Walmart

Every one of those that contain that email address is a response to a complaint. Most of those complaints are about bad customer service. All of those customers are then asked to email their complaints to a different department, continuing the ever-growing process of pissing them off. There's no real attempt to take care of the problem on the spot, or for the Twitter people to ask for a bit more information and forward it along, and it's just baffling to watch such a disorganized circlejerk.

I kind of hope they never figure it out, because watching it is like going to the circus. One where you get to sit safely behind unbreakable glass while the animals break free and maul everyone around you. It's such a beautiful, hilarious chaos to witness, and the worse it gets, the better I feel about my life. That's probably not healthy, but it works.

John is a columnist right here at Cracked with a new article every Thursday. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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