Abdur over at twitter has an interesting post about Twitter's fight against spam. The information in the post is summarized by this graph:
The problem with Twitter spam (other than the existential one) is that because Twitter is such a great platform for novel communication behaviours, it has blurred the definition of spam. For example, say I visit a site which is offering me free downloads of music (sweet!). To get at the goodies, I have to allow the site to post on my Twitter acount a message saying that I downloaded a certain track from that site. That message goes out to my network, with the intention of getting them to visit the site as well.
Is that spam?
Spam is also dependant on the mode of consumption. If I follow a certain brand or outlet and it feeds me tweets about deals, we may both benefit. If I search and find nothing but links from thousands of accounts that the brand has set up to push such information is that spam? It sure looks like it.
While Abdur's graph says something about the fight with spam, what it doesn't say - i.e. what constitutes spam in Twitter and how such a taxonomy break down across tweets - is perhaps more interesting. Twitter does have some information here about their spam reporting system. I wonder if we could see a break down of the fight by the types mentioned there.
I think that with the complexity of interactions that Twitter allows, spam is more an experience than a fixed type of data.