Thursday 20 February 2014

Robots retweeting robots to no-one

Do you do Twitter in person?  I'm not talking about scheduling tweets via Hootsuite and Tweetdeck - for a busy person who only gets to use Twitter at the weekends, this makes sense.  I'm talking about the 'bots' that do the the RTs for you as well, and who, in effect, have control over your profile.  

You've seen those tweets tweets saying  "Use @SomeCrapApp and make Twitter work better for you", or "Contributed tweets for @PersonWhoCan'tBeArsed are delivered by @SomeDumbRobot, and various other similar statements.

Please, please DON'T be tempted to sign up for these things.  

I don't know exactly how they work, but I believe that if you sign up for them, they RT tweets from the users you nominate. Certain words or hashtags can be nominated, too.  Your chosen robot will RT something by them every hour, or whatever - but it can't discriminate between promotional tweets and conversation.  The other morning I noticed that 27 people (sorry, not people - I mean profiles worked by @SomeCrapApp) had RTd me saying 'thank you' to someone.  If you sign up, at least half the tweets it RTs for you will be conversational.  

So who uses them?  People who are trying to promote something.   They think that if they do 200 RTs a day, all those people will RT them back, and therefore spread the word about their product far and wide.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Free marketing, without you even lifting a finger.  Yes, you're right - it's too good to be true. 

These are the reasons why you shouldn't use retweeting apps:

  • If your followers are constantly bombarded with pointless RTs, they are more likely to unfollow you than buy your product.  Too many RTs is one of the main reasons profiles get unfollowed.
  • If you are RTing someone's bits of random conversation, all you will do is annoy the person.  You are unlikely to get an RT back.  I never RT back the profiles who use these apps, even the ones who catch my promotional tweets, too.  I know many others who don't.  Many people block the users who are constantly RTing their conversation.  
  • Twitter is a social networking site.  Marketing is about communication and interaction, not robotic advertising that isn't even targeted properly.  
  • If you are never actually on Twitter, but just use these apps, what if someone asks you something about your product?  You won't know; before I understood what these things were, I thought they were just being rude when they didn't answer.   They weren't - they just hadn't seen it.  I, fool that I am, was just talking to @SomeCrapApp

How do you know if people use these things?  When you look in their timeline they will have nothing but tweets by other people, with the occasional one saying "Contributed tweets provided by @SomeDumbRobot", or something like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph.  Worse - this isn't even a tweet sent out by the person, because they think that these apps are just so damn good they want to tell the world - @SomeCrapApp sends its own advertising tweets out along with yours.  Look on their 'tweets and replies'.  There will be no conversation.

I will just say one thing - I know that a few people who are very busy do use @SomeCrapApp to do some RTs, but still appear on Twitter to interact, answer messages, etc, so they can be forgiven for the occasional RT of me saying "Oh yes, I agree" to someone.  This isn't about you!

There are some @SomeDumbRobot users who RT me several times a day, every day. Are they sitting there in their non-Twitterly homes, chuckling as they imagine all those people like me clicking on their profiles and spreading the word out to their (in my case) 42K followers about their super-duper products, while they sit back, watch the ball game and eat pizza? Well, I have news for you, oh robotic ones! I never RT you. You're spreading the word about me, that's all... except they're probably only spreading it to other @SomeCrapApp users, ie, no-one, as most of the 'real' people will have unfollowed them by now.   All my Tweets twittering around all day, seen by one writer friend said to me, if we're not careful Twitter will soon become robots retweeting robots to no-one. Which is why I'm writing this article!

Here's the good news!

If you still want to follow someone but don't want to see their retweets, just go to their page, and click on the little cog-like symbol next to 'following'. There, it gives you the option to turn the retweets off.  

Remember - even if you can only spend 20 minutes a few times a week on Twitter, it is far, far better than churning out 200 robot RTs a day.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

On trolley rage.... and more....

My 'Morrissons Rage' takes several forms, and is experienced on a weekly basis, so I thought I'd get it all out of my system here, now, and be done with it.  

(For readers outside the UK, Morrissons is a supermarket)

Firstly, why do they keep hiding stuff???  Not being able to find the vegetarian gravy granules doesn't mean that I will go "Ooh look, they've put butterscotch sauce where the vegetarian gravy granules used to be, and it looks yummy! I'll buy some of that, too, before I spend ten minutes trying to find an assistant to tell me where they've hidden the gravy granules!"   No, it means that if it happens ONCE MORE, I shall do my impression of Michael Douglas in McDonalds in 'Falling Down', when they refuse to sell him a McBreakfast Whatever, two minutes after they officially stop serving breakfast.

I can't, however, repeat my much repeated moan about 'up-selling' ("and would you like any stamps or top ups?  A family sized tub of lard?  A DVD that you'd pay a tenner NOT to watch, for just a fiver?"), because Mozzers doesn't seem to be too bad with this at the moment (unlike Greggs, who offered me a vast amount of doughnuts for a quid when I went in to buy 2 stotties this morning).  So I shall concentrate my grumpiness on the OUTSIDE, instead.

People outside supermarkets:  Generally speaking, if you see someone walking towards you, pushing something large, cumbersome and heavy, it kinda makes sense to move out of their way, instead of standing there with a gormless expression on your face and waiting for THEM to move out of YOUR way, doesn't it? 

......I'm guessing they're relatives of the people who allow their kids to run amok inside the shop..... and the ones who stop for a chat mid-aisle, their trolleys forming a barrier....

Oh yes, inside the shop again - and it's about SELF-SERVICE CHECKOUTS.  I don't know supermarket management hasn't cottoned on: queue of 15 people at the one till that's in operation.  5 self-service checkouts, only 3 of which are occupied.  Du-uh.  I know some people like them, but more don't.  Unless the people around where I live are particularly lazy, of course.  

And don't get me started on the taxi drivers on the way home, who don't grasp from your polite yet two syllable only answers that you don't feel like chatting.  As Humphrey Bogart said to the taxi driver in 'Dark Passage': "I'm paying you for the ride.  If you want a friend, get a dog" (or similar!).

Every time I come back from the weekly shop I vow to shop online from now on. Every week when my husband sees me writing my shopping list and getting my 'bags for life' out, he says "I thought you were going to do it online from now on?".

I suppose I've only myself to blame, really....

Friday 7 February 2014

It's new book time again....

I've just finished another novel, which is currently with my first test/proofreader.  After that there will be more revisions, another test read, etc., etc.; the whole process does take a long time!  It's a bit longer than my others, at 125K words (the others are between 85 and 95K).

I'll tell you more about it nearer the time, but for now I'll just say that if you like relationship orientated contemporary drama, romantic suspense and family saga, you will like KINGS AND QUEENS ~ and if you are interested in these people, you will like it even more!