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Why I Don’t Over-Automate On Twitter

Posted by on Aug 24, 2011

Just thought I’d mention that if you see a post from me at 2 or 3 in the morning, I actually wrote it.” – Mitch Mitchell

I tend to stay up pretty late; yeah, I’m nuts. I get my energy around 9:30 or 10PM and then I start working really well. At a certain point I finish a project and unless I’m totally exhausted it’s a great time to go back and look at Twitter to see what has gone on either during the day or for at least a few hours.

Some people locally have commented on my late night tweets because they wake up and see a bunch of things from me. Actually, I never knew any of them paid much attention to anything I put out so that’s illuminating. However, like most people they tend to believe that everyone else is on the same time frame they’re on, and thus think that by the time I’m writing everyone else has gone to bed.

The world’s a big place, and as I’ve talked about on this blog, the majority of people that actually comment in my blogs don’t live in my area. So if I’m posting at 3 in the morning and someone’s still awake, they’re probably on the West Coast except for my friend that lives in Nebraska and works night, or they’re in Australia where it’s actually already well into their next day, or in Europe where it’s morning and they’re just getting started on their day.

One also sees a lot of other noise, if you will, when you stay up really late. There’s a ton of automation, the same messages over and over from people you know aren’t awake, messages I’ve seen many times during the day. Frankly it starts getting irritating, and one reason I actually write some of those folks early in the morning is to see if any of them respond. Of course I know that almost no one is going to respond, but I figure maybe they’ll respond in the morning when I’ve awakened.

Nope. Truth be told most people that do a lot of automation aren’t interested in what anyone else has to say for the most part. They haven’t quite learned the lesson that social media isn’t really only about “them”, but about everyone, communications, relationships, and networking.

I only do one little bit of automation. For almost every new blog post I publish I use Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) to put the notification out that I’ve written a new blog post. I do that because I tend to write a lot of posts all at once on all my blogs (remember I have 5 of my own and many that I write for others) in advance.

Often I’m actually sitting at the computer when a blog post goes out but I’m doing something else. However, I check to see if my blog posts are showing up usually within the hour if I’m not live on Twitter. Actually, every once in awhile I’m on Twitter when a post of mine shows up; that’s pretty neat.

If you see a blog post of mine in the afternoon or evening, you can be 99.8% sure that I’m posting it live. It’s either a repost of an earlier blog post or, if something’s hit me that I just have to talk about immediately, it’s brand new. Back in November I did an experiment testing 2-a-day blog posts with the second being advertisements for some of my products, and in that case those were written in advance. I haven’t done that since.

Here are my questions for you. How much automation are you doing on Twitter? How much actual engagement are you doing around the time messages are coming your way? Are you actually engaging people on Twitter at all? And how do you feel when you see messages from people that are almost all automation, since we know it when we see it?
 

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48 Comments »

Hi Mitch,

I am currently using Tweet Old Post and that’s the only automation I use. I also use Friend Feeds which automates some other things that I do on other sites, but the info I share is very selective. So not many tweets come from Friend Feeds.

I think I’ll add Twitter tools, because whenever I publish a new post, it never gets tweeted automatically. I usually tweet it myself, if I don’t forget.

I engage with people, not everyday, but I do engage. I sign in and engage whenever I have the time. But I should be doing more of this.

I’m okay with others automating tweets, but when I see that’s all they do, then I hardly ever engage with them.

August 24th, 2011 | 10:49 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Evelyn, you just can’t engage with those folks. And I’m not overly crazy about the Tweet Old Posts plugin either, as I see some people really busting out lots of their old posts. Once again, if you see an older post from me I’ve just posted it.

August 24th, 2011 | 11:10 AM
Susan@Primal Recipe:

Hey Mitch – I do a little automating – when my post goes out, some blog archiving tweets, and then sometimes if I have an affiliate offer I set if for a few times in a 24 hour period. I hope I don’t look like some of the spammy twitter people I see online. Anyway, I also do try to engage people personally. I figure that’s how you get your best customers and how you get people to take note of you. It often pays off.

August 24th, 2011 | 10:53 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Susan, if one is posting the same link maybe 4 times a day that’s not so bad. But I see some of the automation posting multiple links every hour and that’s just way too much. I think there’s a lot of people who need to check their stream to see how much they’re putting out when they’re not really around to see if they irritate themselves. lol

August 24th, 2011 | 11:12 AM

Hey there Mitch!

I’m not a fan of automation. I believe that the human element is wiped out when automation is overly used… especially online where the human element doesn’t always have the ability to shine.

I’m on Triber, so out of all of my online endeavors, that’s the only thing I used that’s automated.

I engage with people on Twitter. I’m not on there all day everyday, but I do try to jump on at least every couple of days and interact with people real time. I have the app on my phone so usually I’m always up to speed, unless I have other things going on.

Take care my friend!

August 24th, 2011 | 4:01 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks JK. I don’t think anyone has to engage every day, though I tend to, but I think it’s important that if people put links out there, even if they’re just retweets, that they also need to engage people, especially if those people talk to them first.

August 24th, 2011 | 4:09 PM
James H:

I think its so obvious, especially when its marketing people who have setup automated tweets to fire out. You have to wonder what the powers at be within twitter think of this as its not really the engaging conversation that it was setup to promote.

August 24th, 2011 | 8:31 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

James, I check out this site all the time called Twit Cleaner that tells me how people act on Twitter; it doesn’t favor them all that well.

August 24th, 2011 | 10:41 PM
Carl:

I have test few tools, generally some are helpful. Usually I integrate auth connection for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to syndicate blog or website post. I use TweetDeck as my desktop app and few online tools for checking if somebody have mention my websites, also one for un-follow people that not follow me after 2 weeks of my request.

August 24th, 2011 | 10:56 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I love TweetDeck, but I never signed up for one of those accounts. I also have different things going to the other social media sites, but only the original post and never anything extra. As I said, if someone sees it a second time I put it there myself.

August 25th, 2011 | 12:12 AM

I had my first touch of TweetDeck about a year ago, when I was doing social promotion for one of my customers, actually first 6 months, I was using it just for my customer and never for my own websites. It is really powerful tool. In the next couple of days, I will prepare an article related to top 10 desktop and online tools for Twitter.

August 25th, 2011 | 9:30 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I see we’ve just connected on Twitter so I’ll get to see how you’re using it. I love TweetDeck, but I know I’m not doing everything some other people are using it for.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:18 AM

Hi Mitch, I also do very little automation on Twitter. I think I have a plugin on a couple of my blogs that send a tweet after publishing a new post but I may have deactivated them, I’m not sure.

I use Twitter to tweet blogs I read to help out the blogger. I engage a bit on Twitter but I’m not on there enough to really have a conversation. I rarely check my direct messages because so many send out automated messages I feel it’s a very poor means of communication. I guess I feel the same way about Twitter as well. If you’re not sitting on the site when a tweet is going out you simply miss it unless it’s using your username.

I like Twitter but, to me, it’s just another tool. It has it’s good points and bad. I have found some cool people there and Twitter makes it easy to keep in touch, as do the other social networks, but it’s not one of my ‘go to’ sites when I want to check out what’s going on.

August 25th, 2011 | 12:14 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Brian, if I get an automated DM I stop following those people immediately. I hate that sort of thing, and I know these folks learned about it from someone who said that we love to be communicated with so people can show us their appreciation. There are some people that also do that with their blogs; you leave a comment and then you get an email thanking you and saying they’ll respond to your comment later on. There must be a lot of people who think that’s pretty neat but I’m not one of them. What’s your thought on these things that are supposed to be showing us courtesy?

August 25th, 2011 | 12:23 AM

As far as the auto-replies to blog commenting, I feel if they wanted emails from me they would have subscribed to my newsletter or my feed by email. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel I had their permission and would feel like a spammer. I feel we offer our email addresses up in confidence when we’re posting a comment, not giving permission to be solicited their latest ebook or even receiving a welcome note. Just my opinion, I’m never short of those. 😉

As far as automated direct messages on Twitter, for the most part I don’t mind, after all, I don’t read them. lol I did notice a couple from people I recently followed. For some reason after my last visit to this great blog 🙂 I decided to glance at my Twitter DMs. I had messages in there from a couple of new blogging friends that I’ve really been enjoying, both on Twitter and on their blogs. The DMs were obviously automated but I’m not going to fault them much for it, I’ll still follow because I like what they share. I’ll still ignore direct Twitter messages though.

August 25th, 2011 | 2:04 PM

I, like you don’t believe in automation and like you the only ones I use are plugins that automatically tweet my post when I’ve published it. At least when that happens I’m around to answer any tweets that may come my way.

August 25th, 2011 | 6:03 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sire, you and I are kindred spirits that way. We try talking to people when we can.

August 25th, 2011 | 9:33 PM
Ivin:

I also only automate certain key aspects that really saves time. I use Tweet Old Post and Twitterfeed… Oh, and I automate my DM’s… and some people HATE, that. But I give away a free book, so can’t be that bad. Nice to visit here and hope to see more of you 🙂

August 25th, 2011 | 7:17 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Ivin, I’m always writing something when I’m able. As to the other, I’ve found that offering free stuff sometimes helps, but it’s not as prevalent now as it used to be.

August 25th, 2011 | 10:50 PM
Robert Benwell:

Too much automation reduces the effectiveness of Twitter, intelligent mix of manual and automated tweeting can create wonders for your networking.

August 25th, 2011 | 9:50 AM

When I first began tweeting, I did not use any automation tools and I had lots of engagement from others. Then got the big idea to pre-schedule tweets a month in advance and engagement dropped dramatically. I just thought that putting my social media communication on auto-pilot was a good thing at the time. Now, I use the “Tweet Old Posts” plugin to recycle my old blog posts, I will pre-schedule quotes, events that I want to market, and my random thoughts from time to time; however, I do make it a point to actually be online for a couple of hours a week. I realized that I did not want to take the “social” part out of social networking by relying too heavily on automation.

August 25th, 2011 | 1:41 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Rachel, the trick is to have your initial posts go out at a certain time when you know you’ll probably be around or will be around pretty soon. Most of my automated initial posts go out between 9 and 10 in the morning, and it’s rare that I’m not around at that time or within an hour or so to respond if need be. However, it’s not as important to immediately get back to people as it is to get back to people in the first place.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:46 AM

That’s a good idea and doable. Thanks.

August 26th, 2011 | 11:45 AM

I’m with you Mitch; I’s a die-hard old-schooler and don’t automate anything – almost. Sometimes I actually get ahead of things and have posts done ahead of time. In those cases I’ll go ahead and put them on the blog as scheduled posts, even do the MailChimp thing as scheduled so I can move on to the next project and not wake up in the middle of the night realizing that I forgot to post todays blog. But I don’t count this as “automation”. Not like cranking out blog posts with a news aggregator or something.
Twitter is the same, I do what I do by hand, no “machinery”. I think that’s important, especially in that venue.

August 25th, 2011 | 1:58 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good deal Allan. Automation definitely has its place, but at other times it just smacks of phony in a way. Some of it I don’t mind, but I know, because I’m checking often during most days, when I just keep seeing post after post when someone is obviously asleep or not around that it’s just fake. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the comments where folks are using a plugin called Tweet Old Posts. I’ve decided not to go that route, so if you see a tweet of an old post from me, I just did it.

August 25th, 2011 | 11:08 PM

I have occasionally used Tweet Old Posts on one blog but set it for every few days. If I have a bunch of friends’ posts I want to share, I will schedule them to go out so I don’t spam the feed…and usually it is 2am and I want them to be seen so I think it is better to do it an at optimum time. Other than that it is me LIVE from the school car line. 🙂

August 25th, 2011 | 6:50 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Melinda, I don’t know much about that plugin, but if things can be planned such that it’s not overwhelming, all’s the better. Plugins should work well for us, not make us irritating to others. lol

August 26th, 2011 | 1:10 AM
Cristian Balau:

I rarely use twitter anymore. Started a new account a couple of weeks ago and I had new plans of promoting my websites on twitter but I quickly give up. Maybe its because I kinnda hate twitter, yeah, I don’t like the damn website, at all. I find it stupid to be obligated to write only a number of characters in the internet AGE!

Anyways. I never had any positive experience with promoting websites on twitter. Maybe that’s the reason I don’t like it.

August 25th, 2011 | 7:41 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

True Cristian, if you don’t like something then it doesn’t make sense to even try.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:14 AM

I seem to be quietly but surely unautomating as many items as possible in my online ventures. Even autoposting my posts to things like my Facebook wall. I just removed that capability I was using in Networked Blogs.

And why?

Well, I feel without – the web just gets too impersonal.

August 26th, 2011 | 4:52 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s a great point overall Christian. I don’t mind having the original post showing up but on Facebook, I don’t think my posts show up on my wall, but in notes, and thus I’m not even sure anyone ever sees them.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:35 AM

I do some automation. New post notifications are automated. I’m also a member of Triberr, though for my personal account I’ve switched to manual post approval (except for the 3 people whose posts I always tweet anyway.) The rest of my Twitter interaction (which is most of it) is all me!

August 26th, 2011 | 6:30 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sharon, I think it’s smart for everyone to automate those first posts if they’re written in advance. I have to admit that I just can’t see the appeal of sites like Tribrr where it seems people are promoting those other sites instead of their own. I’m probably seeing it incorrectly but that’s where my mind is.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:34 AM

Mitch, I think of Triberr as a way to share more good stuff with my Twitter followers. If I share things they value, then that’s good for me and the original blogger too.

I’ve also met new people and found new blogs to follow through the site. I’m not ready to throw in the towel on Triberr membership yet, but I’ve made some changes to how I handle posts there after reading a couple of interesting posts from Kristi Hines and Brankica.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:42 AM
Sheemay:

Hi Mitch,

I actually never knew about the automation in Twitter but I thank you for knowing it here in your post. 🙂

August 26th, 2011 | 6:44 AM
reeha@cheap desinger handbags:

Hy Mitch
i never used automation even i stop using twitter because of high spamming and feeling unsecured. will surely join there again and will test this plugin.

August 26th, 2011 | 9:21 AM

Twitter is one of the best social media sites in business but I haven’t tried automating older posts and even feeds. Thanks for making me aware of these.

August 26th, 2011 | 10:39 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

No problem Brent; I hope it all works out for you.

August 27th, 2011 | 4:41 PM

Hi Mitch. Thanks for sharing this. Automation on Twitter, for me, is not a prioritized thing. It can be unsecure, maybe, I don’t know.

August 28th, 2011 | 12:25 AM

I see automating twitter too much as a way of misrepresenting yourself on the site to your followers. Most of the automating options that are available online has negative and positive benefits that each offers. You just have to know what is right before you get started. Thanks for sharing this tips 🙂

August 30th, 2011 | 3:53 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

No problem Olawale. I tend to agree with you; some folks are automating tons, and it then looks like either they’re always on Twitter or never on Twitter, and neither might be true. Engagement is the best way to use all of social media in my opinion.

August 30th, 2011 | 10:20 PM

Hi, Mitch even some times I really do automation on twitter. Some of the tweets I often receive from friends. But I need to have twitter tools so that I can get tweet automatically.

September 8th, 2011 | 3:23 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s why I use it, as I tried some other things. It works best for me.

September 8th, 2011 | 6:35 AM
Ana @ Ensayos:

Automated messages are almost certain way for somebody to get on my ignore list. If you don’t have the time and the decency to wrote things in real time, I don’t have the time to read them.

btw, I am totally a night bird myself.

September 20th, 2011 | 7:13 PM

Good point Ana, although I’ll admit that if the topic is intriguing enough I’ll still read it, whether I like the fact that I know it’s automated or not.

September 20th, 2011 | 9:50 PM
Ana @ Deceased Estate Sales:

That’s true. However, I don’t expect to find any real value in the automated responses, so I guess I jump to conclusions a bit here.

September 26th, 2011 | 12:03 PM
Rob | building a blog:

I also only automate certain key aspects that really saves time. I use Tweet Old Post and Twitterfeed… Oh, and I automate my DM’s… and some people HATE, that. But I give away a free book, so can’t be that bad. Nice to visit here and hope to see more of you 🙂

January 15th, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Rob, I hate automated DMs; I unfollow almost every single person that sends me one if I add them on Twitter. But that’s just me maybe.

January 16th, 2012 | 1:08 AM