Beware the autobots – they could be decepticons.

How many “connections” do you have on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter? I call them connections because, let’s face it no-one has 873 actual friends. If you disagree and think you are friends with the entire 873 people, you’re delusional.

Do you have some “connections” who you’ve never met in person? Or how often do you browse through your “connections” list of “connections” looking for good sorts you can stalk? Talking about you Frosty!!

What if I told you in the last week there is a very good chance you have made a connection with a robot on one of these sites – a robot you think is a real person. A real person with a normal profile who make normal contributions to their normal page about their normal life.

Beware the decepticons

In the cartoon Transformers the good guys were the autobots and the bad guys decepticons, so far in this instancd we can think of all the robots

If you have a robot in your social networking site – is it good or bad?

WTF are you talking about?

Good question.

Developers have built tools that automatically post entries into Twitter accounts. They create a Twitter user and develop profiles for them based on real world segmentation of their client’s target audience. They then seed the fake Twitter user through real users and build a network.

The developers have also designed a software program like a big fishing trawler that sails through other Twitter accounts with similar profile data and copies some of their entries. These copied entries then go into a spreadsheet that automatically posts them into the fake account in a set schedule.

Check it out Twitteradder.

That’s weird, but so what?

Here’s the devious part, marketers then seed these Twitter feeds with subtle links to their brands. Plus to manage ‘real time’ entries such as conversations to other users they have real people to post because the robots aren’t THAT smart. Yet. But how do you manage thousands of fake accounts with real entries? By outsourcing to the Phillipines. At $1.44 an hour. Hhmmmm.

Got an issue with this yet?

Well I do. I’m not sure if I’m more upset that marketers are potentially reaching me with fake users or that Twitter, who know this goes on are letting it happen.

All I can say is beware the decepticons….

Decepticon logo

Tim – CGO

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