My Twitter follower count has increased a lot in last two months and it is increasing every day. I don’t have huge follower base, but I feel confused while managing my followers and who I have followed.
There are several Twitter automation tools available that do different kind of automation routines. Most of them are cloud services that need extra accounts. Some of them post to your Twitter stream their own messages and some don’t.
Some of them are more well behaving than others while others are mainly concentrated in delivering more followers quickly. You should stay away from “more followers quickly” schemes. Most of them deliver fake followers and the followers start to disappear quickly while their status is turning to spam users.
Twitter has made automation rules more strict recently. You are not allowed to auto follow back or do any kind of mass un-follows or follows.
It has been relatively easy to increase your follower count with automation. You can follow people in bulk and since in Twitter most people follow back, you will get followers automatically. Twitter has ratio how much you can follow against your followers, but with automation it is easy to keep that ratio.
You have probably experienced that kind of automation yourself, when someone with huge follower base has started to follow you and when you follow back and you will notice after few days that the account is not following you anymore.
The new stricter rules start to bite the usefulness of automation tools and the value needs to be found from other features than the auto-follow or un-follow. Many of them are designed to be user interfaces for several accounts, some offer stats and some are built on top of friend suggestions.
I am a nerd and I have worked with software automation all my career. I love scripting and creating small scripts to do small tasks.
I started to experiment with python and Twitter API. It would be easy to make all kind of evil Twitter automation, even the API has limits how often it can be called. (For non-technical people I can tell that the API is a service, which you can use to do actions against Twitter, to do your own applications or services. Python is a programming language.)
After few tries and errors. I started to develop something for myself that would help me to handle the Twitter and possibly help me to increase the follower base. I have decided to stay safely inside the rules.
I love Evernote and use it in any case daily. I have it in all my devices. I started to think if I could use Evernote to control my Twitter account and have all the reports in Evernote.
..and this is what I came up.
I have small command line utility called Cuckoo. I did not have much planning behind the name, that is how I usually work. Whatever name comes first in my mind, that will be it. Cuckoo fits nicely with Twitter
I am having one note in Evernote that has my blacklist and whitelist. Blacklist is a list of users I don’t want to follow and whitelist is a list of users I don’t want to unfollow.
I can enter this command in cli:
What Cuckoo does?
It goes to my Twitter account and finds the users I follow. Then it checks if the users I follow are following me back. Cuckoo compares users to my whitelist and the users who are not in whitelist and are not following back it adds to “non followers” list.
The second check is to check whether I have users that follow me, but I don’t follow back. Cuckoo compares the users with my blacklist. If I am not following back the user cuckoo adds him to “not followed” list.
The outcome is a report in my Evernote which looks like this:
The report has urls to the user profiles, so that I can easily check who are the users and what they tweet about. It would be tempting to add automation to unfollow non followers or section to the report where I could add users to be un-followed With my volumes Twitter would not notice it, but since it is going against the rules, I will leave it out.
Anyway, in that list I can easily move users to whitelist, blacklist and go check their profiles and do whatever actions I want. The best part is that I can do that in any of the devices I have without installing anything extra I would not have already.
This is how two birds, snake and Elephant live happily together. Makes sense or not, it was fun
Photo credit Flickr Lip Kee.