Twitter and Automated tools

Posted on November 4, 2008. Filed under: Observations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

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I was engaged in a Twitter conversation yesterday about the use of Auto-Twitter tools, like Tweetlater.  I have had this discussion a few times and its interesting to me that the debate is quite polarizing. Some Twitter users are adamant that you should not use any form of auto generated Tweets.  Others state that its a great way to drive traffic to your blog, e-book or company website.

The Middle Way

As with most polarized discussions there is usually a third path.  I personally use auto reply from Tweetlater to ensure that everyone who follows me gets an immediate response.  Some days I attract upto 30 new followers, it can take me at least 24 hours before I get the opportunity to respond to them individually.  To me, in the current, always on, instant gratification world we live in, that isn’t acceptable, but also I can’t do everything at once.  I run a company, I blog, I write articles, I micro-blog to Twitter.  So sometimes things slide.  Using the tool allows me to make sure I make some form of connection with everyone that follows me.

What to say

So if, like me you want to use an automated tool what should you say?  My message simply says, “hey, thank you for following me, I hope to make it worth your while.”  I keep it short, friendly and most importantly I don’t put links in it to my blog, my company or anything else.  Why?  Because if I want to not only have you follow me on Twitter but also read my blog, I had better be prepared to engage with you personally.

Other Auto Tools

There are plugin’s that will automatically Tweet when you update your blog.  I really don’t understand the point of this.  You have just written this amazing post, you want lots of people to read it, so what exactly is preventing you from logging into Twitter or using whatever tool you use to post to Twitter and making your Tweet engaging?  If you can take the time to write a blog post worth reading, why wouldn’t you be able to write a 140 character message that will engage readers?  I cringe every time I see on Twitter “Just update my blog” and then a link.  Ok great thanks for letting me know, but what was your blog post about, why would I care ? Is the subject of interest to me?  Get to know your audience, what do they care about?  What are they reading?  You should know because if you are really engaging in Social Media then you are following the links they post, reading what interests them and therefore gaining an insight into what they might be interested in reading on your blog.


Now if you have reached this part of the post you may have noticed that I have used the word Engagement 4 times in only 3 paragraphs. Why would I do that? Because the key to Social Media, IMHO, isn’t what platform you are using, it isn’t how many people you have writing your blog, it comes down to the 3 E’s, yes you guessed it Engage, Engage, Engage.  Time is probably the most valuable asset any member of your potential audience can spend on you.  If you want them to invest it in you, invest in them.  Use automated tools wisely and only for good reason.  Don’t be tempted to let bot’s replace your voice.

What’s your opinion? Do Auto responses have any role to play in Twitter?

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5 Responses to “Twitter and Automated tools”

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I use an auto response as well on my Twitter profile when someone signs up to follow me. Unlike you, I do add the link to my blog, but aside from that I agree with you that it’s great to have an immediate response back to your followers.

I can’t believe how addictive Twitter has become for me. It’s probably the only form of networking that I really enjoy doing. It’s quite fun.

As far as automating the process of posting your “Tweets”, I think that’s pretty lame. I usually block those people once I see through their charade.

Great topic by the way. I found the link to your blog on Twitter. What a great promotional tool…

I went to a fully automated add (anyone who recently added me) and send them a 30 second welcome video to (pseudo – twintroduce myself) to the new tweeps. So far almost 1k views to the video and all positive responses and 1 negative one. (accidentally caused a reboot) although not sure that was entirely my fault 😉



Nice post! I agree, Engage, Engage and Engage. What is the point of having a community of people, if you don’t interact with them?

My thoughts on the auto responder: I tested out Tweetlater on your recommendation. New followers received auto responses for three days, last week. The message was friendly and tried to make it appear non-automated.

I am not sure how the new followers felt about it, but I hated it. During this test, I did what I do each morning, reviewed each new followers bio and links, but without the personal reply, because Tweetlater had already automatically responded.

When I did go look at the follower’s bio and links, I found so many things I could have personally said to them that was of interest to me. It frustrated me, because I could have began a deeper engagement, but if I had, it would have been obvious they received a pre-canned response originally.

It was only a test and I removed it. In my case, I prefer engaging personally for every “real” new follower. This excludes followers providing me links to their pitch, because in my opinion they have already missed the point of engagement and relationship building, so I don’t use my time resource to acknowledge those followers.

I think there is a time and place for everything. For instance, I’m current “twitter mistress” for the Learning Trends online conference. I’m not really available much during the conference, however, esp since it’s in pacific coast time.
So, I’ve set up Tweetlater to auto-follow everyone. Since it’s a conference, it’s too many people for me to do on a daily basis. Since the account is seen by so many, I’m also not sending welcome messages. I’m using Tweetlater for this.
I’m also using Tweetlater to send out scheduled tweets. I would never do this on my personal accounts, but for the conference, it’s perfect. I can send out reminders 15 minutes before each session, but it’s all scheduled. I don’t even have to be around to do it.
I’m using GroupTweet so that everyone can share the account and broadcast to everyone participating. I love that particular tool.
I’m using Twitterfeed as well. Now, I use this for my wine blog. I’m usually on Twitter anyway, but I love when it just sends out my blog post for me. One less thing I need to do. For the conference, I’m using it to track the RSS of the discussion forums. Whenever there is a new discussion topic, it’s announced on the Twitter account thru Twitterfeed.
I just really love all these tools that have made using Twitter as a backchannel that much easier.

I came upon this page because i wanted to test the idea of a ‘tweeter-narrative’, a first-person story told through tweeter. In this case, I prefer to write the story and set it out, so it can take up a few hours for the full story to pan out, rather than for me to be stuck to the computer for those hours.

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