A lot of people like to automate their Twitter. I’ve scheduled Tweets every now and then – it’s nice to keep people reminded that I’m alive, and it helps if you’re new to the network, and are struggling to get to grips with it.
But there are others who are happy to let the robots manage almost all aspects of their Twitter account. However, this doesn’t make Twitter easier, because the point of Twitter is meaningful engagement.
Here are a few examples of when the Twitter robots can get the better of you.
The Auto Retweet
Retweeting allows you to share great content with your followers. It also helps to spark a conversation with the person you RT’d.
But it can also provoke some unexpected conversations. Conversations such as the writer who retweeted something I had sent from my personal Twitter to an account run by fans of crime fiction.
Naturally I thought I’d say hello. ‘A fan of crime fiction, are you?’ I asked. To which they – I can only assume – panicked, ignored everything I had said, and listed details of all the books they had published.
Needless to say, that was the start and end of our interaction, and an unfollow quickly, er, followed.
The Auto DM
A lot of accounts use automatic direct messages to thank their new followers, and to tell them where to go. By which I mean direct them to other social profiles like their Facebook page.
You have to remember that people have followed you because they get something out of it. Instantly telling someone to go ‘Like’ your Facebook page is akin to telling them that their Twitter follow wasn’t good enough, and that they should do more to help you out.
The Auto Illogic
I recently received a direct ‘Thank you for following’ message that made my brain hurt. It said ‘We look forward to Tweeting with you.’
But…aren’t we on Twitter now? I thought to myself. If any time is a good time to start this Tweeting that you are so looking forward to, wouldn’t that be now, to thank me for the follow?
That was a piece of ironic missed opportunity that is akin to travelling to someone’s office to tell them that you can’t wait to meet them.
The bottom line is, an automatic message like that just serves to highlight how insincere your message is.
Rather than me telling you how this one can lead you into trouble, I’ll simply suggest that you read this article on the Huffington Post website (warning: rude in places, and I’m in no way responsible for any of the content). Comedian Kyle Kinane noticed that the Pace Picante brand of salsa was favouriting all his tweets in which they were mentioned, regardless of content. Needless to say, after you’ve read the entire exchange, you’ll see why it pays to have a human being running your Twitter account.
Beware the robots
So there we have it; four examples of times when automating your Twitter doesn’t work in your favour. Remember the reason you are on it in the first place, and ask yourself whether your automations are genuinely making things easier, or if you’re really damaging your own endeavours.