Twitter Let me start by saying that I don’t condone the automation of social interaction… but we don’t always take our own best advice do we? The other day I was playing with the Twitter API and I decided to write a bot as an anti-social experiment :)

Due to the insane amount of spam of Twitter these days I’ve begun to question it as a source of reliable sales leads, which my main motivation for writing the bot in the first place. Perhaps it’s due to the restrictive nature of the content posted on there (144 chars) preventing any real interaction? Anyway, I ran this experiment to see how many people were actually engaging on there, and what kind of a followback rate I could achieve.

Overall the results were pretty impressive. I had a 38% followback rate on an established account with 500 odd existing followers. Bear in mind that these are not just any old followers either, they are targeted followers with the same interests, which are much more valuable. However, only about 4% of the followers who followed me actually clicked on my domain link, which pretty much confirms my belief that most people/businesses are using Twitter for advertising and any real engagement is happening elsewhere.

If you want to use the bot for yourself then just install the Ausca Ruby gem:

gem install ausca

Now you can use the bot as follows:

require 'ausca'

# Instantiate the bot
bot ={
  :consumer_key => TWITTER_API_KEY,
  :consumer_secret => TWITTER_API_SECRET,
  :access_token => TWITTER_ACCESS_TOKEN,
  :access_token_secret => TWITTER_ACCESS_SECRET,
  :config_filename => "config.json",
  :search => "#awesome -rt",
  :want_num_retweets => 1,
  :want_num_favorites => 3

# Run the bot once

The best idea would be to configure cron to run the script to run at a reasonable hourly interval, otherwise Twitter might suspend your account.

For more information check out the Ausca homepage, and if you decide to run any experiments for yourself then let me know how it goes!