Sunday, April 28, 2013

Twitter Bots Abound and They Want to Follow Little, Old Me -- Do They Count?

Wow. It only took about thirty seconds for the Twitter Bots to locate me when I signed up for a Twitter account as an author. It took me a few minutes to recognize the pattern. Why? If you look at the short blurbs, you see attractive young women in various photographs, so they look legit. They're looking for a variety of things -- love romance novels, love mysteries, love Kindle, love Nook, love blah-blah-blah....

What gives it away? One or two tweets. You love something and you only tweet once or twice about it? That's called bot stalking. That's all about gathering cyber information, not about being a real follower on Twitter.

Funniest thing? After a while, if you really pay attention, you can see that these many, many, MANY potential followers all have something in common. The photos, the poses become familiar to the trained eye. Better still, the style of sharing personal info on each profile becomes recognizable. You can throw in a fake kid or two, or a cat/dog, boyfriend, etc. You can add buzz words, like Christian Romance, chocolate, or health care, cancer or POSITIVE ENERGY 4 LIFE!!!!!, but the pattern is set. This is a hook with a line and a sinker attached. Someone's looking to reel you in, not because you're a fabulous author, but because you're a target -- for marketers, for identity thieves, for hackers, for who knows what.

So, ask yourself something, Twitter Tweeters. Do you want to make it easy for fake folks to interact with you or do you want to make it hard? Do your numbers matter more than the content of your message, your desire to take in information? Is it so important to have phony followers that you're willing to risk your own cyber security for a cheap thrill?

I liken it to the difference between having one good man think you're the best thing on this planet and having a bunch of idiots howl as you saunter past them in a tight skirt and kickin' heels. Sure, it's flattering to hear the wolf whistles and the slobbering drool hit the sidewalk in your wake -- if you want to be a piece of meat. But you should always remember that wolves are carnivores. They're not gourmet diners, fussy about what they eat. If you care about your own content, if you care about quality, raise the bar on your Twitter experience. Go for the real followers, the ones who actually want to read your work or who really want to share something worthwhile. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many followers you have -- the chance to actually interact with good, decent human beings who share your interests matters. It's that one diamond in the rough that really counts. It's that voice in the wilderness that actually offers wise counsel that makes a difference. That's what a real connection is. Everything else is just white noise.

No comments:

Post a Comment