Saturday, April 25, 2009

Big Brother Moment

Ever have the suspicion that someone is watching you? Virtually? I'm not talking about your Twitter followers or Facebook friends, but something even more stealthy. Something I don't quite understand myself. Enter the Smart Bot friend finder. This morning while writing for next week's Newslinks column, I started getting follower alert emails from Twitter. I've not been inudated with such emails, so I still manage to click through to the new followers profile. I read over their latest tweets and sometimes click their blog links to see if I'd like to follow them back. Generally I follow artists, educators or friends. This morning brought several new followers; the best being Scott McLeod and another LeeAnn literacy diva.

When I clicked through the remaining new follower links I was surprised to find a tweeter devoted, it seems, to coffee and coffee makers. What could I possibly have in common with "ocmfilter"? Otherwise known as Joyce Teo, how did ocmfilter find me to follow? Is she a teacher? an educator? an artist? It doesn't seem so. She'd from Singapore and enjoys coffee shops and movies. All perfectly pleasant I'm sure. Her tweets are coffee central.

I do love a good cup of coffee. Indeed, I blogged about our home roaster last March. But, coffee is not even a big word in my blog's latest Wordle. What gives? Is someone other than Amazon.com and iTunes following my purchases? Is a special follower bot picking through my profiles or tweets? Did a worm sneak into my machine and glom onto words that connect me to other people? I started to wonder. Then of course I clicked the next follower alert email and sure enough... a smart friend finder bot. As if such a thing could truly exist! Imagine what you could do with a smart friend finder--does it find smart friends or is it just smart at finding friends? Who knows if that bot is the culprit or another. A bot in my mind (brother correct me if I'm wrong) is short for programed web robot which I define as a scripting sort of program that searches through words, profiles and preferences in order to target consumers. Perhaps that latest bot in my email is the one that pointed "ocmfilter" in my direction or maybe it was another one. Certainly a big brother moment this morning.

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