Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Support of Blogger Aaron Lee's "Scheduled Tweets"

For some time, "programmed tweets" or "scheduled tweets" have been a controversial topic. We've mainly heard the voices of people who advocate against them. They argue that its not real, and that its like "talking to a computer". I don't agree with these assertions, so imagine how overjoyed I was to see a true Twitter giant like Aaron Lee admit on his blog that he sometimes programs his tweets.

Some of my Twitter favs like Flipbooks, 2cre8, TechZader, TrendyDC and Ruhani Rabin do it - and do it well. I sometimes do it too, and for all of the reasons Aaron Lee eloquently presents. He arguably penned one of the best social media posts I've read all year. Reading it got me thinking: why would someone say programmed tweets do not represent "authenticity" and are "fake"?

People will continue to have their views on the matter. I just ask that people understand that the process of "programmed tweets" is a 4-Step process (and that the computer actually does the easiest part). Seriously. Here we go:

1. The Search for the Tweet: Humans do this. I try to maintain a dynamic and diverse feed, so I'll look for tweets on travel, tech, music, health, comedy, politics, social media, sustainability, charity, etc. I look far and wide.

2. The Construction (or "look") of the Tweet: Humans do this. If I find something on a website and want to tweet it, I may add hashtags, and, possibly my own stamp of approval on the subject matter with words like "hot" or "must read". If I'm retweeting someone, I have to figure out if I want to use "via" or "RT" - the two most popular ways of identifying a retweet.

3. The Scheduling of the Tweet: Humans do this. I might want to space my tweets, so I'll have a quote to start the hour, another quote 7-10 minutes later, and then a link. Two hours later, I may want to promote one of my Twitter lists, and in the process promote two names on the list as reasons to follow the list. And then 10 minutes later, I may do two links back to back. In other words, I am in complete control over the time.

4. The "Tweeting of the Tweet" itself: Computers do this...because humans allow it. This is the easiest part of the process. Period.

So why is this controversial? Because you're not sitting in front of your computer pushing the "tweet" button? To me, its a non-issue. I have good friends who strongly disagree with me. And that's cool. But I schedule my tweets during the time I sleep -which happens to be the time a lot of my friends in Asia, Europe and Africa are awake, or beginning their day. I love connecting with people all over the planet, and I have ambitions and dreams that make occasional "programmed tweets" a necessity.

My post won't convince everyone, but I am happy Aaron Lee has given voice and reason to the argument on other side of the issue.



  1. Yes Bravo to Arron and you as well for speaking to an issue that I feel is poorly understood. I use scheduled tweets and make no attempt to hide that fact. I also use scheduled blog posts.
    I do this for a number of reasons some of which are.
    I want my tweets and blog posts to appear when they do the most good and at a time when people that follow me are on line and reading. A post or tweet at the wrong time will never gain much traction. Nothing is worse than posting that good tweet or blog post and watching it fail to go anywhere due to no one being there to read it. After 10 minutes anything tweeted, posted, or blogged that hasn’t been found most likely won’t be. It’s been buried in a pile of postings, tweets, news releases, and spam never to be discovered by anyone.

    And I don't want to bunch my tweets and blog posts up in one large lump. I find that those who send lots of tweets all together just look like spammers. It's kind of like shouting over every one just so you can have all the attention. I know I sure tune out any group of tweets by one source after about three or so in a row. That chain just gets scrolled by.

    Especially since you and I both know they are sending them by automation that’s the only way they could possibly be sent. Just in the time it takes to write one tweet you will be many tweets away from your last posting. So it shows that they are either uninformed on how to schedule things or lazy and don’t care. Either way I’m not too interested in what they have to say. There are lots of considerate users out there who share the available time and space with all and for that they get my attention and following.

    Also I find that without being able to manage my time and thus my release of information (tweets, blog posts, email, etc.) I do a disservice to those who follow me. By spacing things out I keep a presence over the course of the day. Doing that I keep my information present and available to the widest audience I can reach. And as you say it allows for things to be organized in a way that best presents the information.

    What most who dislike (or say they dislike them as I’m sure all use them to some extent) using scheduled automated release of posts and tweets fail to see is that it’s just a tool. Don’t blame those who use it properly for the problems that automation software has caused. But since spammers flood the web with all their never ending trash most people have come to associate automatic posting as somehow the evil behind the message. In truth the message is either personal, timely, and worth sharing or it’s not. That has nothing to do with how it’s posted.

    So put me down as using and loving automated posting.
    Frank Woodman Jr.

  2. I cannot agree with this more! I think that the essence of a tweet is the fact that a human did the work of finding the information, writing or re-arranging it in a proper format and took the time to post it. Now, if the machine pushes it into the net at a later time, it doesn't make it any less human... Twitterfeed, that's automation without human intervention. I did that in the beginning and then I stopped when I realized that a lot of unrelated tweets were passing through...

    Take care,


  3. Go Aaron and go you! Aaron mentioned you in a tweet. Glad I caught it. Your advice is def worth the read! Keep it up.

    - Anthony