What's the Latest Development?

For those seeking more online exposure, companies exist which claim to increase your visibility on Twitter by garnering followers for you. Some companies use Twitter bots, or automated Twitter accounts that look like humans but are not. An independent research group which studies the dynamics of social media, called the Web Ecology project, has found that Twitter bots attract users and retweets even though they are machines. What was most interesting is that the Twitter bots changed patterns of human interaction.

What's the Big Idea?

Researchers found that Twitter bots, in a community of 300 Twitter users, increased follows by 43 percent over a control group composed only of humans. In other words, normal patterns of human-to-human communication were amplifiednew introductions were made between users and those users started communicating. Imagine if bots were able to connect human communities across artificial boundaries where the stigma of fraternization is often the major impediment to a more constructive and empathetic conversation.

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