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