Before Treshnish - IOFNC : 'on the ground'
Institute of Fundraising - Resources and Reflection

Twitter Automation Lessons

Meet @contentasaurus...brain child of Andrew Hanelly (@hanelly on Twitter). I am engaged in a battle of the bots. Not because I'm infested and plagued by then but because social media should be, or should have, a social element. It is why this social web environment has emerged. As human beings it is in our nature to reach out and connect with the world around us. Andrew Hanely's experiment and resulting blog post "Lessons Learnt from a Twitter Bott" asks the question, Can it be automated?, details the experiment and measures the results. The opening line "A robot didn’t write this post" illustrating right away that some things need a human touch.

Looking for work-arounds and time saving methodology is essential online and offline. Wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to look after Twitter? What if it could look after its self? If you could set it up and let it run would you? Would you automate a customer facing aspect of your business? Banks offer us automated services, the "Hole in the Wall" but still we choose to visit the counter. Why is that?

A Twitter account can successfully be assigned an element of autonomy using automation with a reasonable quantifiable success but it has no soul and it has no intellegence.

Some statistics from the 43-day life of @contentasaurus:

  • The account posted more than 2,500 Tweets (about 60 Tweets per day)
  • Which generated 443 clicks
  • Which resulted in about 80 @mentions and 19 Retweets
  • And a Klout score of 43 (for whatever that’s worth)

Taken from Andrew Hanelly's post these stats demonstrate that is a short time and with well selected content it is possible to generate twitter activity. For him the down side and an touch of futility was not being able to add the human element and resond when comments and good wishes came in.

I do recommend you go and read his post "Lessons Learnt from a Twitter Bott" as the consequent comments are an interesting read also. What interested me was the foundation. I think there is room for scheduling informative content but I am hearted by the increased emphasis I see around the social web for the curation of content. It's important to understand the web around you in terms for your audience and twitter is a good resource for doing this but must be done appropriately. With automation you can get a result but with any success there has to be the satisfation of a job well done or an idea reached for. There are no quick wins or we'd all be rich! After all being social is about conversation and engagement.