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 nobody....as 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.
Excellent article Terry. I do so agree with you. I didn't know about the option to turn someone's RTs off- very useful info. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Ah, good! I just saw this post down my list of unfinished ones, had a look at it and realised it was nearly ready to go, so I gave it a few tweaks and stuck it out - I'm glad I did, because that turning off RTs isn't very widely known, I know. My good deed for the day, then!!Delete
Well said! I had to turn someone off recently because all their tweets were similar ones one right after the other about their x-rated stories. Does the bot thing include those roundteam tweets? I'm probably being thick but I don't understand how roundteam works - I read up on it but it still made no sense! I'm with you - doing my own RTs is more productive not just for the person you're RTing but for yourself too. I admit to occasionally using Hootsuite but that's only at promo time, the rest is me! Oh, and still loving Kings & Queens! :)ReplyDelete
Emma, yes, that was the app I was getting at, without actually naming it! There are others, but that's the main offender. Nothing wrong with Hootsuite - scheduling makes sense when you're busy - and I'm so glad you're likeing K & Q - I'm reading it myself at the moment because I got a bit stuck on the continuity when writing the sequel! Thanks for reading and commenting xDelete
.... I mean 'liking' - duhhhhh, typosReplyDelete
Thank you very much for this post Terry, it's something that I have been considering with great concern as of late. While I love twitter and look forward to my interactions on it, I have been researching options for automated RTs and tweets lately as I've been finding that my neck doesn't seem to agree with four hours in front of the computer in one session, which is what has been occurring as of late.ReplyDelete
I've tried the every second/third/fourth day of tweeting, but it doesn't seem to work, and I'm always behind. I'm also concerned about how the interactions page on twitter doesn't always display all RTs even after multiple refreshes of the page. I find in some searches that people have RTd me and I had no idea until much later!! I am aiming to have more automation of RTs and tweets to take away the pressure of all this, and hope that the spare time I will now have on twitter can be used to interact more with other tweeters, and check what else if going on. I also believe it is good to have this option as, in my case, computer breakdowns, and anything else in life can and do happen when you least expect it, and there is some back up.
Best of luck with your upcoming books, and see you on twitter!
Marcia, I do realise that your health makes this sort of thing hard for you, but I would urge you not to join the Roundteam gang. You don't have to return all RTs; half of them are done by automated apps anyway, as I've said in this post. I think that maybe tweet scheduling via Hootsuite or Tweetdeck might be a good idea for you.Delete
I certainly don't spend 4 hours a day on it - I do brief bursts of about half an hour at a time, and I only do about 60 retweets a day now. Twitter is about interaction with people, not the churning out of posts. Keep just being the nice lady you are, and don't put too much on yourself!!! xx
Great post Terry. Until recently I was returning the favour for everyone or thanking them if I couldn't find anything to RT. Then I realised what a fool I was being. It was taking up so much time that it stopped me interacting with the people who I had got to know on Twitter. Ironically, the people that I was RTing for probably weren't even aware of it. The problem is you can't always tell which are robots and which aren't. The Round Team announcement is a dead giveaway and the number of RTs is a good clue especially if they are RTing conversations, which always irritates me. The silly thing is that I was RTing so much that people who actually interact probably thought my account was automated. From now on I'll just be RTing for people I know or those who are obviously active on Twitter. That way it will bring back the enjoyment of Twitter and stop being such a chore. :)ReplyDelete
I just applauded you, Diane! I do like to RT people I don't know, too, or you end up just in a little RT circle without ever reaching a wider audience, but I do limit them. What I do now is just do a few each time I nip on Twitter to change my 'pinned' tweet, every 3 hours or so, then my followers don't get a whole load of RTs all in one go.Delete
The other way to tell if someone has an app-run account is when they never reply to you if you tweet to them, and if they always RT you almost as soon as you tweet something - that's a clear indication!
Thanks Terry, I know I'm massively late to this post but it is really useful.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, glad it was useful. Just part of the Twitter learning curve!!Delete
Rosie shared your article, Terry. I'm happy to say I haven't signed up for any "auto-tweet programs." I post all of my own tweets. Now, I need to become more savvy about hashtags!ReplyDelete
Oh, thanks, Linda! Right, hashtags... I think I'll do a blog article about them, actually - soon!Delete