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Twitter: Bots gone Bad


Is it gauche to blog our tweets? Probably but still – look at this:

shelisrael

So I responded with: silk-shelisraelI didn’t think anything of it but then came back a few hours later to see – based on the keyword I had used “lost” this:

wibbler-lost

If you go to the tweet, you’ll see that the “in reply to SilkCharm” takes you to my “lost” statement.

Anyway my responses were (tired of screenshots):

@wibbler I tweeted about the horrible deaths of so many Australians in bushfires, and you auto-tweet about the TV show LOST? GRRR. BLOCKED. (link)

@wibbler The thought of you autotweeting keyword ads based on words I use, is the dregs of SM. Lost lives in Australia = Lost TV show? No. (link)

140 characters means I don’t get to swear a lot.

Interruptive ads are bad enough on TV when you are settled in for a nice quiet evening with some free to air movie. You expect them. But inserted into a conversation….?  On Twitter?

For John Lacey who told me :

You have something to blog about now. Bots are good for doing calculations. Not so good for “social” networks.

Yes. You are right. But wait a minute … You have something to blog about now – ???  grrrr.

In the past we accepted this form of advertising because frankly, we had no say in it. It was too hard and time consuming and intensive to get thought patterns changed and laws pushed through. I just hope that this time ’round, when we see crap like this, we call it out. Now that we the former audience have both content creation tools and distribution channels, we should be able to find ways of limiting this kind of behaviour.  Or will apathy continue?


Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

11 thoughts on “Twitter: Bots gone Bad

  1. Laurel.

    I had my own “I want to kill the arsewipe” moment today.

    I was listening to Fox FM, much as I hate it… it happens when my daughter gets control of the radio in the car.

    So the DJ is talking to a lady on the phone about the fires and she’s pretty emotional because a total stranger saved her home from the fires… he stood guard with a garden host for the 45 minutes it took the CFA to show up.

    You can imagine what that must have been like.

    Anyway, the dickwad Fox FM “must always be cool for the kiddies” DJ replied with (something to the effect of):

    “So if you can ever find that guy again, given how much he did for you… will you put out for him?!”

    So here’s this poor lady talking vulnerably about a bloke saving her home, and the filthy-minded Fox FM DJ can do no better than think about sex?

    Here’s what I’m wondering… is it a *policy* with these “youth-oriented” radio stations (certainly those Austereo ones, anyway) to demand that their hosts punctuate every damn paragraph with smut?

    I was so utterly disgusted. The lady didn’t know what to say and said something about the guy being married with three kids, and the co-host (a woman) tried to steer the conversation to something else.

    I mean, that dipshit should be fired. Fair dinkum.

    (Feeling much better after that rant.)

    -Alister

    (alicam on Twitter)

    Alister Cameron // Blogologist’s last blog post..Obama campaign turned Joe Average into a campaigning pro!

  2. Hey,

    I’m the aforementioned Wibbler that prompted that blog post.

    I’m unbelievably sorry that it caused offance. The very nature of automation is it lack the discernable human element, and in this case it’s gone horrifically wrong.

    In fact, I set up the automation just to see what it could do, and completely forgot about it. I will turn it off now.

    Anyway, short version: sorry.

    1. ack I thought something like that might have happened. We all get caught from time to time testing things out. Still, a nice lesson for the readers 🙂

  3. Laurel when I said “now you have something to blog about” I meant that there was something positive you could do with this unfortunate use of social media – help educate people to be better people, and better social media users.

    NOBODY comments on your blog as frequently as I do. And I comment because I enjoy reading the content. So please accept my apology if I offended you, it was not my intention.

    John Lacey’s last blog post..Scorched Nation

  4. Hi Laurel

    I’ve been following you for a few weeks now on Twitter and reading your blog too which I’m enjoying.

    Firstly, it is a very sad state of affairs here in Victoria and the devastation caused by the bushfires is horrendous to say the least. It will take something for the people directly affected to get back on their feet.

    As for the bots, it just goes to show that in this case, there is definitely no room for them on Twitter. Hopefully Wibbler and similar tweeps will turn their automated tweets off.

    Ange Recchia’s last blog post..Australia’s Top 100 Influential Twitterers

  5. Hi Laurel

    A quick one on a semi related human intervention.

    A HR guy who is very active on a number of social sites including his own blog, emails everyone on his network everytime he has a new post on his blog. (Hello…RSS?)

    I used to read the odd post but began not really diggin his style or his subject matter.

    This morning I unsubscribed after 2 years.

    I have met him at industry events twice in ten years so not overly familiar.

    He rang me on my mobile an hour later and asked why I had un subscribed.

    I think that shows bad form. What about your thoughts.

    Paul

  6. Sadly it’s not even bots…

    Twittered this morning with info about the website where you can volunteer (it’s www.govolunteer.com.au if interested) and added the note that the Volunteer Australia Organisers have asked for patience as frontline services are full but you will be very needed in coming weeks.

    Got a human reply from @Jooners with them linking to some stupid list service thing they sell.

    And I quote: ‘@mrpaulb Great effort. Kudos. Now that the front lines are full, use www.jooners.com to streamline the volunteers (and a link)

    Spamming strangers in a difficult time – nice one.

  7. Wibbler is not alone.

    On the week-end I encountered an army of similar bots, tracked down what the “general” was doing, – and got his account suspended.
    http://mike.brisgeek.com/2009/02/15/an-army-of-retweet-bots/

    He’s back, of course, but he knows I’m watching him.

    Mike Fitzsimon’s last blog post..An Army of ReTweet-Bots…

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