Call it the attack of the bots.  The majority of tweets linking to the most popular websites are not handled by human beings, but bots that post content without human involvement.  That’s the findings of a Pew Research Center random sampling of 1.2 million tweets last year to answer this question:

“What proportion of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts, rather than by human users?” Question posed by Pew Research Study

Key Finding from Pew Research Center study:

  • 66% of all tweeted links to the most popular websites are likely posted by automated accounts, rather than human users
  • 89% of tweeted links to popular aggregation sites are bot posts
  • The 500 most active suspected bot accounts make up 22% of the links.

It sounds bad, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes it’s done for speed:  automatically tweeting something that’s been posted to a website.  It’s a way to get breaking news and information out immediately to social media channels when it’s posted to your site.

I use bots to automatically push my new WordPress posts on my website out to social.  It save me time.  I post once, and it automatically sends links to my content to Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and a number of other lesser known sites.  I also have aggregators that comb through blogs for specific combinations of keywords and automatically post to my Twitter account in order to keep a regular flow of information.  Because I’ve hand-picked the content categories and keywords, I make sure they are news items of interest to my followers.

Shamless Plug:  Want to subscribe to my Twitter feed along with 8,000+ others?  Click here.

You can read more about the study, along with the political leanings of Twitter bots (not mine – mine are 100% nonpartisan) here.