Oh ye gods! What has my Twitter feed become?! How have I created this monster? It dribbles vacant prattle down my screen like the spilled brains of a long-dead marketing executive. Vacuous screams that echo over and over…
BE INTERESTED IN ME;
BE INTERESTED IN ME;
BE INTERESTED IN ME…
Yes, it’s the Automated Twitter Author, saturating the internet with their soulless sales strategy.
Well, I’m not interested, frankly. You go ahead and try to accrue an audience with this zombie-marketing – but it’s not going to work, because you’re a dullard. You’re just a ticking automaton, one that I have the power to switch off and never be disturbed by again.
Here’s a round-up of why your social media presence is putting me off mankind.
Fiction does not compute
Let’s take Brian Author as an example. Brian has written his very own subversive take on the shape-shifter romance genre, and he wants you to know his book is on Amazon. So he sets up a Twitter account to do exactly that.
I get it – Brian wants people to know he’s written a book, that it’s available on Amazon and that he had his 12-year-old niece design the cover, because she’s so freaking talented, right?
Great. By all means, let the world know. But must you mention it all the time?
I’ve followed people (albeit briefly) who do nothing but tweet their ads. They don’t interact, they don’t declare an opinion, they don’t even mention what they’re having for dinner, or show you their favourite cat gif, or post a #coffeeselfie (because that’s “a thing” now).
#VAPID <emoji> #FANTASY <emoji> #OTTER
¢∞¶• MEANINGLESS SYMBOLS ∆†çå
#OFWSTP #ACRONYM #UNKNOWNGENRE
(To be fair, I’d read Do Unto Otters, but that’s because I’m a masochist. I like to put myself through awful things because I find it funny to tell people later how otterly bad and awful it was.)
Having someone shout at you over and over again without pause is annoying, especially when it’s just: BUY MY THING. And it’s especially galling when that thing looks like a piece of shit.
Admittedly, you see these tweets and they’ve been retweeted a bunch of times and have got lots of Favourites, but there’s a reason for that…
No, not a Japanese robotics expert who asks his android JE551CA’s hand in marriage. We’re talking about farming out your personality to a company.
Companies like Roundteam.co offer a system whereby they search for relevant hashtags and then RT the tweets they find.
But, apparently, their vetting process leaves a little to be desired. For a start you might be RTing something you disagree with vehemently – like Nazi Horse Porn, for instance, or the Daily Mail.
Or you might RT tweets of a rather more titillating nature. More than one account I’ve come across naively included the hashtag #fantasy in their list of interested content, unaware that several accounts use the same tag to pedal softcore porn.
Blindly retweeting content is not a good way to convince people you’re a trustworthy human with something important to say. It tells us you’ve paid someone to pretend to interact with other humans.
Who wants to read the words of a robot? Or, indeed, of a mindless PR executive? NO ONE.
Direct me to the exit
Finally, I want to mention direct messages. I’ve spoken about it before: here.
Now, it sounds like a great idea to set up an automated “Hello” to new followers, doesn’t it? It starts a conversation, right? It breaks through the peculiar barrier between follower and followee and says: “We’re both in this together.”
Weeeeeeeeeeeell… not reeeeeeeeeaaaalllllly?
If that conversation ever bore fruit – with, I don’t know, an exchange of ideas, for instance – then fine. But my Inbox is full of clearly automatic junk directing me to Facebook pages and Amazon shops and Writer blogs, and we’ve barely even said Hello!
You know what I do with them? Ignore them. How stupid do you want me to look, replying to a computer like it’s a real flesh-and-blood person? Just stop it! Interact with me like you would in real life: remark on something OTHER THAN YOURSELF. Perhaps my views will conflict, perhaps they’ll complement each other – but “a chat” might occur. Shock! Horror!
And if a chat happens, I might find you interesting, I might visit your profile, I might go and look at the book you’ve written. Congratulations! A potential new reader!
And if you DARE send an automated direct message that asks ME to validate MYSELF, you get blocked. Un-fucking-believable.
People doing it right: Chuck Wendig; Matt Haig; Kameron Hurley; Joanne Harris, etc. They interact with people, start conversations, point at things and go, “OPINION”. At which you might understandably respond: “OPINION 2”.
And the best thing about this post – the BEST thing – is that when I share it on Twitter with bot-phishing hashtags, I’ll get automatically RTed by the very accounts that this post derides.
Come on suckers. Take the bait. COME AAHHHN!