Saturday, 28 December 2013

Automatic Tweets - A handy tool, Or A Hidden Danger?

In the world of social media, Twitter has become one of the leaders. At its best it allows people to interact with like minds right across the planet, allows people to tweet about what interests them, about their books, their crafts, their art, their music, their businesses and reach potentially millions of people.

How does it work? Well, for the uninitiated, it's an I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine world. To reach those millions of twitterers, we need our tweets retweeted by kind individuals. So then we retweet for them in return, then they do the same again, and others join in and so it grows.

But all this retweeting is time consuming. You can spend hours just keeping up with the retweets. And, well, many of us have other things to do.

So someone devised a way of tweeting and retweeting using an automated system.

How does it work? Well, basically you allow the automatic retweeter to take over your Twitter account. You put in some tweets of your own which it then churns out in rotation every hour or so, twenty-four hours a day. And when someone retweets for you, the automatic retweeter picks it up, and retweets their last tweet. Simple. Saves you hours. Or so it seems.

So what are the drawbacks?

Well really, the automatic retweeter does not discern what the last tweet of the retweeter was. If it is an automated message about someone's unfollowers, or if it is a personal message to someone, or a tweet of thanks, it will retweet it. The problem is that person is hardly going to be thankful for such a retweet and probably will not retweet back for you. Unless they also have an automated retweeter, in which case it is a case of a computer talking to a computer!

But isn't Twitter a place to connect with people? Or is it becoming just computers talking to each other?

But what if the person's last tweet was something you disagreed with? Religious perhaps? Or political? Or worse, what if it was pornographic?

Can't happen? Oh yes it can! It happened to me. I was with an automatic retweeter for just two days, and it retweeted something on my Twitter page which was in the realm of eroticism, with a picture. I was horrified, and I deleted it. I also left the automated retweeter immediately.

But worse, I have been on other Twitter pages since and come across hard core pornographic photographs, which I assume the person knows nothing about and probably would not have retweeted themselves. Oh yes, they have been automatically retweeted. Twice I came across this in just one week.

Could this happen to you? Could you be unwittingly retweeting porn?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to check your tweets and see what the automatic retweeter has been doing in your name.

To use an automated retweeter or not is a personal decision. But be warned, it does have its drawbacks.

By the way, if you do leave the automated retweeter, you may find, as I did, that those it picked up who retweeted for you seem to be lost to you. I found I was not getting notifications of retweets. You have to go into settings on your Twitter profile, and Apps and disallow those particular apps. I also had to get regular retweeters to unfollow and then refollow me before it would work properly again, while I did the same to them. A pain, but it worked in the end.


  1. Evelyn, it may be time consuming but I think I'll stay with manual retweeting!

  2. It definitely is time consuming, but thank you Evelyn and Carol--I know you have both personally, manually retweeted for me.

  3. Time consuming as it is to manually retweet, I've resisted the temptation to use an automatic retweeting service - for all the reason's you've mentioned here, Evelyn. Sometime last year I was puzzled as to why a part of a conversation with a Twitter friend was retweeted by another Twitter friend. Took a while for the penny to drop. My opinion? Automatic retweeting is impersonal, indiscriminate and potentially dangerous. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole and except for Twitter friends I have relationships with, I don't retweet anyone who uses an an auto retweeter to retweet me.