Japanese Twitter, 分んない
February 17, 2014 4:23 PM   Subscribe

I have a four letter twitter username. Several times a week, different Japanese twitter users will send me more than 100 mentions, usually gibberish or numbers. I think it's a sort of game or trolling, but I want to understand why.

These are a couple of examples of the tweets. The second one is kind of freaky, both the avatar and the description (the user is no longer active).

I don't tweet a lot and I'm not famous.

I speak some Japanese, but I'm not fluent enough to understand what's happening. I tried asking those who tweet at me why are they doing it, but they just favorite my post (and LOL at my expense, I suppose).

Today, somebody posted this:
My twitter username differs from @null by one letter (I don't mind disclosing it, but I don't want to self-link).

What the hell? I usually block those users, but this is starting to get bothersome.
posted by clearlydemon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This may provide an inkling of what's going on.
posted by holgate at 4:42 PM on February 17, 2014

Yeah, it's either a bot, or someone's account has been compromised. Looking at your Twitter profile, you post in Japanese, interact with Japanese people, and have Japanese in your account description, so that's probably why you are getting this sort of stuff.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:45 PM on February 17, 2014

The tweeters are probably unconfigured robots, not people. A lot of computer languages will spit out "null" when a variable is undefined. Some languages will spit out undefined

The odder thing to me is that you receive these tweets, when you're not really null, you're just almost null. I guess this means Twitter is trying to spell-check the @nulls? But it doesn't do it for every @null tweet just some of them?
posted by RobotHero at 5:06 PM on February 17, 2014

Anecdotally this is not because of your username length - I have a very short Twitter handle and I only get accidentally tweeted at by real people who think my account belongs to an organization/event/something else that shares the name.
posted by capricorn at 6:51 PM on February 17, 2014

I'm getting something similar in gmai -
I have no idea what the Japanese says, it comes via an old email , I haven't tracked how often, and have marked as spam. Will look at address of sender when I can. Not too many so far.
posted by judybxxx at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2014

Thanks everybody! This was super interesting. Guess I'll have to keep blocking them (today I received 117 mentions in about two hours).

In some Japanese input methods, NE and NU are a keystroke away, so this might be an explanation. Also, I get a lot of accidental/mistaken tweets, apart from these.
posted by clearlydemon at 12:56 PM on February 20, 2014

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