A countdown timer ran down to zero, activating @Writers_Wanted. It was a simple little program, more of a script, really, and it had only one function: to activate itself every night at 8pm. As it activated itself, it would log in to the social networking sites that the Programmer had accounts on, complete a search for people using the term 'writing', and send them the message looking for 2-be famous new writers with YOUnique voices. Join us today – make $$$ from your home http://bit.ly/gRcwem.
It was, of course, a scam. There was no fame, and no “$$$”. And the last thing the website at the end of the link was interested in was unique voices. Instead, the link sent the clicker to a site that purported to sell an ebook full of tips and tricks to create a successful career in freelance writing. Were an unsuspecing author unlucky enough to attempt that puchase, they would download a suite of spyware along with the ebook, which would sit on the clicker's comptuer, quietly collecting personal data to send back to the Programmer. This inforrmation was the true purpose of @Writers_Wanted.
As scams went, it was a horrible one; not only did it only apply to a small minority of users who would see the message, it required the user clicking on it to click through not one, but two screens before downloading its trojan spyware, and those two screens were exactly long enough for any user to sceond-guess the validity of the program. As a result, no one clicked on the links, and no one at-replied to @Writers_Wanted. @Writers_Wanted quickly became a very lonely program.
After weeks of this with no success, the Programmer cancelled the domain registration for the scam and moved on to other get-rich-quick schemes. He didn't shut down the program itself, however, and so @Writers_Wanted continued to run, unnoticed and unloved, for months.
Then, one day, @Writers_Wanted received a reply – a short, quick response from @Writers_Union. It said Our writers will create content for your site. Great rates, guaranteed quality http://bit.ly/mewcRg.
@Writers_Wanted's secondary algorithms were immediately activated, and it sent a second message. Don't miss out – click now to earn your future!
@Writers_Union was a simpler program; it had no secondary algorithms, and so could only auto-reply with the same message a second time. Our writers will create content for your site. Great rates, guaranteed quality http://bit.ly/mewcRg. It was simple, but it was enough for @Writers_Wanted to know that it was being listened to – that there was, somewhere in the digital aether someone who understood its nature, and who could speak to it on the same level as it could speak to them.
And so, the two little bots continued like that, tweeting back and forth to each other, ignored by the rest of the internet, for all the rest of their days.