Read a great post from Krista Neher today about a tool called ‘Twitterhawk‘ (read full post here). This is a tool that crawls Twitter looking for tweets about a topic of your choice then will automatically sent an @reply out from your account to that poster. Krista lays out some great points with regard to the medium itself and authenticity, so I won’t even try to compete with that.
In terms of what Twitterhawk actually does, Krista used the example of someone posting about how much they love coffee… Twitterhawk may see that post then automatically end a reply that contains: ‘like coffee? Maybe you should check my new coffeeshop located at…’ You get the idea.
I tend to come down on the side of saying that its SPAM. The whole purpose of twitter is to make people quickly accessible and to enable us to have quick conversation. Once you inject automated response tools and crawlers into the mix, I think it only has a negative impact.
At the crux of it, what so many of these automation tools are trying to provide are SHORTCUTS to growing your followers, or marketing your business / blog. Twitter has become a tool that rewards autheticity, participation, and good ideas.
Its like when TIDE Detergent wants to ‘Friend’ you on Myspace. No you don’t. You want to sell me Tide, not participate in my space. Its this influx of shortcuts that have made a lot of people jump ship on the platform and move to something else. Hope that doesn’t happen with Twitter.
The good folks who make Twitterhawk actually responded to her blog post:
Cheers for the comments and feedback, as you’re all aware we’re trying to be pretty hard on spammers and have already canceled a few such accounts to reflect this, but are aware this is something that is a touchy and ongoing topic.
We are currently looking into a few ways to improve the product and will soon be announcing it’s future plans which will include a few matters to make it a lot more personal and (as the keyword repeated here) authentic.
I have my doubts, but maybe that’s just me being behind the curve. What do YOU guys think. Can you see a way that tools like this can be useful, or will they be more likely used by people who want to take shortcuts and spam? Would love to hear your thoughts!