I believe I may have experienced my first Twitterbot (aka Twitter Bot). To be more specific, the kind of Twitterbot that mass-follows people, gains a follow-back, and then removes their original follow in order to have more ‘Followers’ than ‘Following’ : a Follow Twitterbot.
Twitterbots are not a bad thing for companies or individuals that have 5,000+ followers or that don’t have a lot of time to be on social media. In those instances, having a bot that can ‘like’ posts or comments, follow-back other users, or maybe retweet posts is very helpful. Unfortunately, like most technologies, Twitterbots can be used for purposes beyond their original creation intent.
I would not have noticed that this particular follower was a bot, except that they sent me a private message, and the phrasing and lack of punctuation in the message appeared disjointed.
I have received auto-replies when I have followed someone before, but those replies came from people who usually introduced themselves and provided a link to their site for more information or some kind of free service. Those kinds of messages are from bots also, but they serve a purpose.
This one though, it made me suspicious that the account was a Follow Twitterbot. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that I am.
I went to this suspected bot’s profile page and found the following:
To test my theory, I posted a comment on their only post (a picture of a man in uniform that said “i love my job”) and asked questions.
If there is a response, and it includes specific information – such as where this person works, what they do, etc. – then I will admit to being wrong and offer some links to this person for how to set up your Twitter in order to avoid future accusations.
If there is not a response, then I’m glad I didn’t decide to keep following them.
In these online communities, there are constant discussions on whether or not it is better to have many followers or to have a few good followers. Do we want to look impressive and have over 1,000 followers even if they are accounts that don’t actually exist? Or do we want a few hundred followers that are influential? In the end, we cannot really control their initial actions, but we are able to block them from following us if we so choose.