As we explore different social networks like Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook, there are new (and usually free) applications that are created by individuals not associated with those companies to help you manage your personal or business identity in those networks. Some of these tools are ones that automate actions you can take on your own, such as following a person on Twitter who follows you.
The trouble is, the whole fun of social networking is to truly interact with others. So when you get into automation, that takes away the personal and turns your online representative at Facebook or Twitter into a robot. Who knows the opportunities you could have missed had you not personally greeted someone, or commented on an achievement or funny statement they made.
Not only that, but your account could get shut down. Twitter is suspending accounts who seem to be robots who may just want to increase followers and look super popular. Case in point: I went to check out a new follower I had in Twitter, but when I got to her account, it was suspended, and Twitter asked if I'd like to know the juicy details. Of course I would. The link went to a Twitter blog post of why Twitter accounts get suspended. I suspect that she went on a mass following spree, and followed a lot of Twitter accounts in a small amount of time. This has been known to silence Twitter accounts.
Patience and personal touches usually work, so stick with old fashioned methods! In the long run, it could save you time.