When someone develops a new social interaction application they usually expect the users of that application to personally update the information that they share with their friends and families. At first launch this is usually what happens but gradually over time you might see an increase in spam like ads and tweets from other users that may be following you or that you have followed. Recent studies in social networking applications have revealed that most people will delete or un-follow a user if their posts are considered commercial. So where does this put you? If you are a casual user then just make sure that your posts are from you and about you or the things that interest you.
From a corporate aspect automation may be just the thing for you if you are running a large company. Then again, it may drive your followers or subscribers crazy and force them to delete you from their follower lists. In both the personal and corporate cases it would seem that no one likes spam and it is generally considered to be a waste of time. At this point you might want to personalize your update information or RSS feeds that you are using.
In one case a user would pipe the RSS feeds from his personal blog to his Twitter and Facebook accounts and his status updates to his MySpace page. This process can streamline the amount of time and effort it takes to update multiple social networking accounts that a single user may be maintaining. In this case the user posts something to his blog and then immediately all of his other social networking sites would be updated with the new content or status updates.
In the case of the personal blog the user was not sending sales stingers or product teasers, instead the user was updating personal information for his friends, business partners and his family members. This is a good case of the proper use of automated update applications that a user could implement into his updating system, In this case there are a lot of good reasons to use this tactic especially if the user has multiple social networking pages that need to be updated in a timely manner.
The worse case is the case where the user is simply setting up several social networking accounts in an effort to spam as many users and followers as possible. This is the shot gun effect to gorilla marketing. Basically they might use a picture of a sexy woman and write a few lines in the bio section about things this imaginary sexy woman is into. In most cases this will attract a lot of unsuspecting users and followers, after all sex sells and everyone is buying. Once this account has grown to an acceptable level the marketer will begin to post spam like comments and status updates to everyone that is a friend or follower of the imaginary sexy babe account. The term used in some cases for an account like this is called a “sock puppet” account.
A sock puppet account is a fake account used to promote another user or a line of spam like products. When a user on YouTube needs more subscribers they might start several of these sock puppet accounts and begin to post comments on the real account in an effort to build credibility or to start conversations and increase traffic to certain videos. The same can be done with Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and several hundred other social networking web sites. The purpose is to promote products or users depending on the situation. It is also a tactic that certain shady users will implement when they need an account to look popular and highly sought after.
The point is that if you are a real person then you should act like one and be social because if you are not then people will figure it out eventually and you will be left with several automated accounts that do nothing but post to each other. This will provide no returns for you because there will actually be no real interaction with potential buyers of your product or service. Besides, people like to know that they have a personal friendship with other people that have the same interests or are into the same thing that they are into. Be social and your followers will come. It just takes a little time to build things up. If not then be prepared to carry on conversations with yourself for hours on end.
Information sources: Resource 1