Automation on Twitter: Should you do it?

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The following post is a guest post by Leon Widrich, an active commenter and contributor on Leon is also the founder of BufferApp. Enjoy the post.

Cruising through the twituniverse has quickly become my favourite activity online.

One discussion regarding Twitter I have led many times and found well worth sharing with you, centers around the question: Should you switch the auto-pilot on, on Twitter? Or should I rather pimp my ride a little, but remain in the driver’s seat?

Whichever your answer to the above, here is my lesson learnt:


Leo – Why do you talk about this?

Since a few months I am involved in building a new Twitter App (Buffer), which aims to make consistent tweeting far easier than it is today. Alongside amazing responses we also got feature requests to build features which would change Buffer from an optimization tool to an automation tool.

Right from the outset it was always our intention to remain on the genuine side of everything, without turning our users into auto-bots.

Let me therefore share my views on what optimization in comparison to automation involves for me and how it may help you to choose your side of this discussion.

What is Twitter automation?

The understanding of what it actually is that makes you automated on Twitter differs strongly amongst people I spoke to. A description that made most sense to me is this one:

You are sending out tweets, without being aware of the content, bypassing the human element of tweeting.

This means that you are using tools, which allow you to tweet links and updates which you haven’t had the chance to read yourself beforehand. You basically turn towards auto-generating tweets via services, that are linked to your twitter account.

Arguably, some people are perfectly fine with that, as there are many reasons why one might choose to do it.

What is Twitter optimization?

Something which is in a stark contrast to automation, but I learnt to be oftentimes confused with it, is optimization. If you wonder what it is exactly I mean with having optimized your twitter, an explanation is this:

All tweets you send out are content you have written yourself. The timing and origin they may not be linked to though.

So in short, nearly every twitter user is optimizing. The simplest form of optimization is using a separate twitter client, like Cotweet, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. A more sophisticated feature which helps to optimize is tweet scheduling or even simpler, Buffering.

Many are using it to pre-write updates, in case they are too busy to be around on Twitter for the whole day. Or in my case, I just want to have a certain number of tweets with great articles posted each day.

I believe using any of these doesn’t cross the line of remaining genuine. All you do is optimize to make the most of twitter, by staying your true self.

Have you chosen your side yet?

Have you made a decision for yourself as whether you want to optimize or fully automate things on Twitter?

For myself I have chosen, I will not use any software or help, which makes me tweeting updates I have no idea what they are about.

But how about you? Do you struggle with this decision too? Or are you a firm believer of either side? Hope you let me know what your views below.

(Many thanks for Aaron Lee on helping me proofreading, refining and working on this post)

Leon is the cofounder of, a web base application that allows users to schedule tweets easier than other scheduling Apps you might know of. As he focuses on getting Buffer off the ground, Leon writes and gives Twitter Tips at Leon loves to connect and build a relationship with new users. Don’t hesitate to say Hi.

by Phillip Pessar