Welcome back to the weekly Twitter column. Today’s topic: The vanishing value of retweets due to the attack of the Twitter bots.
The sheer number of retweets has become more and more pointless recently.
That’s a sad realization but it’s true. You can get dozens of retweets just by more or less automated Twitter accounts. That’s of course just half of the problem. Not only the metric “number of retweets” is worthless by now. Naturally you don’t get visitors this way either. More importantly though:
You can overlook your real followers who retweet you
on their own accord and really recommend you by manually retweeting your link. These are a few among of dozens automated accounts in some cases. Tweetmeme is not particularly helpful here. It just lists retweeters chronologically. You have no clue whether they are real or just bots. You can see it once you take a closer look at their tweets but that takes a lot more of effort.
Topsy which I introduced last week does a better job at showing you real users. They are marked as influntial or highly influential in many cases. Sadly Topsy has discontinued to “view only influential” feature. Also some bot accounts have the influential badge as well.
Think about it: Can an answering machine run your business?
Likewise an almost or fully automated Twitter account is rather an annoyance than an asset.
I don’t say that automation of tweeting is no option at all. Like in life the key lies in moderation. Ironically a guy who is known for being a black hat SEO is the best example how automation can work. It’s @fantomaster – his tweets are a perfect mix of scheduled tweets, manually entered retweets and replies and tweets you never know the origin of.
Every second time I think it’s just an RSS feed or scheduled tweet he just uttered he replies to me or retweets me. So at the end of the day it’s not that you automate, it’s how you automate. An answering machine, after all, isn’t a bad idea altogether either.
When automating Twitter make sure not to overdo it.
You may automate 30, 50 or even 70% of your tweets as long as your followers have the impression that you are there. You need to be available and actually present to some extent. That may be tweeting from time to time or just once daily a few tweets. As long as you aren’t simply a bot. Also tweeting a link instantly after publication is just plain rude. You should at least make sure that the blogger or publisher her or himself can tweet the link first.
I consider blocking people from retweeting me or my links automatically. Are there ways or tools to do that? In case you know some, tell me. I’m tired of all the bots and automated accounts clogging the intertubes.
How to stop the attack of Twitter bots? Any idea?