Who are You?

Twitter have been working hard over the past few months to clean up their act: removing fake accounts, discounting locked accounts from follower numbers and all manner of tomfoolery is being employed in an attempt to make our timelines more representative of reality. Except all this work is largely pointless when you think all a robot is made up of is automated code and all anybody on a sock account wants to do is to spread hate speech. My feed is teeming with robots, and it is time to start weeding them out.

This account is typical of many that are quite possibly advertising a real person, but it is most certainly not them using their account in a fashion that would be considered as ‘normal.’ The Follower (singular) that we share is the biggest giveaway: an account with massive follower numbers that retweets only scheduled, curated content. These are not ‘people’ I could have a conversation with, but they provide the filler which increasingly is holding sections of Social media together.

Their output, almost exclusively, is retweets of other accounts that pick up hashtags and then send them onward. In this case, the #amwriting and #amediting snared me. I did honestly go back more than a week to try and find evidence of actual humanity but none was forthcoming, and a look at the followers? Nobody I had in common except that single account. They’re a MASSIVE red flag and I want nothing to do with them.

After a while it becomes really easy to separate the reality from an automaton. Even if Liam is a real person, he’s using robot software to like simultaneously, and that’s an instant turnoff. It’s like when I follow someone and they then immediately DM me a thank you which is clearly an automated response. If I can write and curate every tweet, so can you.

When the person who follows you tweets in another language, it should not be an obstacle to communication. I follow lots of people for whom English is not their tweeting language of choice, and it really is not an obstacle to understanding. Not reading my tweet and (again) only following that one account? Your language of choice is irrelevant. SHOO.

I can do this all day and night. Let’s see who blinks first.

The GSME: Back in Time

On March 14th I decided, after a fair amount of consideration, to sign up for Twitter’s Promote Mode beta. I’ve spoken about this in previous GSME articles, that it could be a great idea for someone like me in order to advertise myself without having to worry about micromanaging a bunch of stuff through often unwieldy UI selection screens. I’m just over halfway through my first month, and honestly?

I’m beginning to grasp how much will have to change in my own feed to make this exercise worthwhile.

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In basic terms, this is exactly the same deal as Co-Promote used to offer, but for a lot more money. That system offered me a ‘vague’ target audience based on what was, at times, pretty inaccurate interest tagging. Twitter allows me to pick the part of the globe I can promote in, and 5 ‘areas’ in which these tweets get promoted. After that, I have no control over what gets picked. The algorithm then selects tweets, from my timeline, and off they go into the wider world: this has resulted in some quite amusing exchanges with random members of the public.

I might get some people take interest in my feed, I might also get the odd random follow, but I’m more likely than not to get someone tweeting me directly to ask ‘WTF is this tweet being promoted by Twitter?’ That’s been the overriding thing I’ve noticed. I might have 14% more people looking at my Tweets, but when most of the actual engagements are people calling me a c-word or telling me to fuck off? This is not either relevant or helpful. It means that ANYTHING I say or do in my timeline has to be an advert, or a way to sell myself, or indeed a combination of the two, and here’s where the bigger problem lies.

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I cannot say ANYTHING that isn’t targetted specifically at my audience, and lose the vital (and rather importantly) organic nature of how my growth took place initially. Sure, if I’m cute I can stack things up, and I can cut out the ‘irrelevant’ nattering that does often take place. However, this isn’t a true reflection of my feed either. Sometimes it is the spontaneous and brilliant which defines me, and having no say at all in what gets thrown out into the world is, quite frankly, less than brilliant.

However, the interactions I’ve had with WTF Joe Public are a demonstration that yes, people do read their feeds. So, this month I am considering the potential of exploiting this randomness, with full knowledge given to you guys well in advance. I should be turning a negative into a positive and using the bizarre nature of the algorithm to start selling my own random nature. It is time to find out whether I can begin to use the platform to promote myself, in a manner that befits the truly organic nature of Social media.

It is time for some new ideas.

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