Automated tweets that “Prepare you for OBLIVION!”

One of my pet hates are automated tweets.

They dehumanise Twitter. When I interact with someone on Twitter I want to know there’s an authentic human voice at the other end of the conversation. Not a bot that is responding with pre-programmed tweets that have about as much interest for me as whether or not the UK will win the next Eurovision Song contest (spoiler alert – we won’t…).


I was having a chat about this with a friend from work the other day and I couldn’t help but get the image of Soundwave, the Decepticon from the 80s’ Transformers cartoon, out of my head. Soundwave was the one with the really cool voice synthesiser who often threatened the Autobots with the menacing “Prepare for OBLIVION!”  taunt, before blasting them with a sonic cannon.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a lover of 80s’ cartoons to see the connection. Automated tweets make you look like a robot (and not in a cool way); you lose your human authenticity as a result and, ultimately, they “prepare you for oblivion” because your audience will switch off.

Here’s the top three automated tweets to avoid:-

1) “My week on Twitter – I gained four followers and a gazillion people unfollowed me because of tweets like this.” – Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.

2) “Thank you for following me. I hope you enjoy my future tweets.” (or similar). These tweets can be set to send automatically to anyone who follows you. Enjoy your tweets? Sure, because who wouldn’t enjoy tweets that have no thought put into them whatsoever and are the same regardless of who it is that has followed you?

3) “The [INSERT NAME OF TWEETER] daily is out! Read my collection of randomly collected links that I’ve probably not even checked myself properly to see if they are any good.” Okay, I’m getting a little cynical now 😉

There are many erroneous claims that these Twitter automation tools will save you a ton of time, or that they’re used by social media “experts.”


In my experience, anything done well takes time and anything worthwhile has a little bit of yourself in it too.

Automated tweets take both of those things away.

A closer look at Screencast-O-Matic

As free screencasting tools go, Screencast-O-Matic is my favourite. It features as number 27 in the Top 100 Tools for Learning poll of 2015 and is an easy way to create fairly short screencasts (15 minutes or less) to help reinforce key topics with learners. If you haven’t done one before a screencast is typically a video recording of all, or part, of your screen that’s accompanied by an audio or video narration. It’s ideal for demonstrating what you are doing on your computer, such as a software demo or web search, a presentation run-through or is even being used by some organisations as a means of providing formative and summative feedback to learners. Continue reading

Amplifying events through social media

How can social media be put to good effect to amplify events?

This year Jisc held its annual Digifest in Birmingham (#Digifest17) and the Subject Specialist team were working hard behind the scenes to ensure the event trended on social media and reached out to those ‘attending’ the event virtually, as well as complementing the activities for those physically present over the two days. Continue reading

Looking through the (Johari) Window on Technology Use

My mother bought an iPad recently.

I know – there’s nothing ground breaking about that. According to recent estimates Apple have sold over 360 million since 2010.

Did I say my mother is also in her seventies and that she has never really experienced the internet first-hand before? Continue reading

Activities to promote e-safety

Promoting e-safety in the Further Education and Skills sector can be a bit of a tightrope walk – you’re caught between ensuring the wellbeing of your learners and allowing them the freedom of expression and experimentation in online spaces that allow them to learn and develop as individuals. Continue reading