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This is all about an experiment I started back in July 2009, called TwiBots. Initially it was supposed to be a simple 24/7 online tweep (Michael Davis) saying a bunch of stuff randomly. But then we (Michael and I hehe) started picking out certain topics, feeding content from certain RSS feeds, filtering all content by keywords and regular expressions.
When the new Retweet API came along, I wrote an RT module which uses the Twitter Search API to find relevant tweets and users, then retweets those messages or just somehow interacts with a user. As soon as the Twitter Lists API was announced, I started working on the Lists module, which eventually became a simple “sorting-the-tweeps” based on their keywords – web design, design, wordpress, etc. Soon enough, I found out that Lists couldn’t contain more than 500 members (although some glitch made 501 possible). Web design 2, wordpress 2, etc wouldn’t be as fancy. I also tried building a conversation list of tweeps that by any means talked to the robot, but then again, the 500 limit broke all my hopes ;)
There were other modules which I worked on really hard, such as RThx module or Random Buzz, DM Control. Some of them worked, some of them were turned off after a few days (yes, you guessed it – Random Buzz, that really made some noize ;)
So, what did I achieve? Me – nothing. Michael did though, in 6 months he went up to 4500+ followers, while following a little more than 200 people himself, has been featured in ~ 250 lists, sent ~ 55,000 tweets and retweets all based on four keywords (or hashtags) – design, web design, wordpress and jquery. Built 4 lists based on these keywords, 500 members in each. Total list followers is a little less than 150 (which is quite good actually).
For comparison take a look at my account – (@kovshenin), in a little bit more than a year I got ~ 1700 followers. It took Michael a couple of months to reach that. The chart below illustrates the followers growth during the last three months. Human (me – blue) vs Robot (Michael – red). Yeah, I added a new module in mid December ;)
I manually logged into Michael’s account recently to check out how he’s doing, and I was kind of surprised to see that people really are talking to the guy, thanking him for retweets, asking him for further reads, wishing him a great day and handing over some coffee. Michael doesn’t usually reply to these and he’s a little bit shy sometimes, besides, he never drinks coffee ;)
A few days ago I decided to give Michael a rest, so tuned his backend to a new Twitter account with a few different settings, especially in timing. I’ll be switching to other keywords and feeds in the next few weeks. So let’s see if he’s as good as Michael, or perhaps better? ;)
I’m not sure what I’ll do with Michael’s account. TweetValue said it’s worth over $5k … anyone? ;) Or should I just throw it away.. Or run a contest for his password? …