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Is our love with online services tainting our social networking? Or, the evils of social automation

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Twitter_logo_blueWhile Twitter is still about people, almost despite the marketeered-to company follow-zombies, more of us are (perhaps unwittingly) shooting ourselves in the foot on Twitter in much the same way.

Twitter is full of company and marketeering follow-bots. You know the type – at best they look like interesting accounts and you follow them, only to discover they just mindlessly regurgitate pushes for their services. At worst they mass-blast follow as many as they can. Any twitter account following 10k+ people with less than 10 tweets is a good example.

 Like avoiding spam we just get used to it and move on with our day. However, I’m seeing more and more people I follow (and often that follow me), starting to mass tweet (a string of similar consecutive tweets) about a single topic – usually what music they are listening to at the moment on music service x, or where they’ve checked in (guilty of that briefly myself), or what beer they’re drinking. For me the worst (usually unfollow worthy) is auto posting daily platitudes.

 These types of spaghetti posts may make us seem more engaged on Twitter (or insert social network of choice), but really they just help those who followed us to choose us as one to tune out and eventually discard. And I fear many don’t even realise they are doing it. They probably signed up for some cool online service, not realising they are now bot-posting their status with the service (e.g. pandora listeners) to their social networks.