Twitter is a great community to be a part of, contribute to, and learn new things from. There are a ton of people who are worth following and learning from on Twitter. What you do not want to deal with is Twitter bots. Not all Twitter bots are annoying. But if you are on Twitter to build relationships, you do not want to do it with software programs. Thankfully, identifying Twitter bots is not that difficult these days. Here are 8 ways to do just that:
- post type: by looking at what others are posting to Twitter, you can easily tell novice spammers. These folks use all kinds of tactics to game Twitter trends and annoy the heck out of other Twitter members. If someone is just posting nonsense links to Twitter or is overusing hashtags (multiple unrelated hashtags per post), you are probably dealing with a Twitter robot.
- hashtag tracking: some Twitter bots are truly harmless. For instance, everytime I post a tweet about WordPress to my account, a few of my followers retweet my posts automatically. Over the past few years, I have come to know some of these folks. But there are a few robots in that list as well.
- post frequency: if someone is posting tweets every 15 minutes, you know you are dealing with a robot (or someone who is doing bulk automation). I don’t care how perfect one can be. It is impossible to post every 10,15 or 20 minutes (on the dot) day in and day out.
- 24/7 posting: some folks post content 24/7. I personally don’t mind that as long as those tweets are valuable. Nevertheless, most of these folks are using auto-tweet programs to get the job done. Services such as Hootsuite do allow people to import RSS feeds and post them to Twitter automatically. These types of tweets are not always annoying though.
- unwanted DMs’ or replies: every time I talk about my web host or Windows on Twitter, I get a bunch of automated messages (replies and DMs). I usually block the source accounts as soon as I find them.
- affiliate promotions: so many people are posting information on Donald Trump University or get rich schemes on Twitter. Most of these people are not even smart enough to hide their tracks, which is good news for the rest of us as we can find and block them fast.
- spammy timeline: not sure if someone is a real person or robot on Twitter? Just check their timeline to see if you can find any repeating patterns. Twitter bots have become somewhat sophisticated in the past few months. But you can still identify them if you look hard enough.
- cross posting across multiple accounts: if one message is always getting retweeted immediately by multiple accounts, there is a good chance you are dealing with copycat accounts. I know a few top Twitter users who have multiple Twitter accounts (one for each niche they are involved in). I would not remove these people from my Twitter lists. However, duplicate accounts that look spammy are a must block.
Did I miss anything? How would you go about identifying Twitter bots?
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