marakame musings.


Automation vs. Authenticity

August 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Blog | 1 comment


As our online lives grow, and the demands of keeping up with social networking take more and more time out of already busy days, there is a natural tendency to look to automate certain tasks. It may be as simple as scheduling certain times-and limiting those times- to check and respond to facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever network or social app works for you.  There are also increasingly sophisticated tools that can help.

Hootsuite is one we have been working with at marakame, and it is a real time saver. You can manage and monitor multiple accounts or multiple social streams from one dashboard, and you can write out and schedule posts for future updates. This tool also allows multiple people to have access to the same dashboard. Pre-writing and scheduling your posts, gives you regular activity in the social stream, even if other commitments preclude you from actually being active. Pre-written posts also allow you to take advantage of peak usage or visibility times on these networks, in order to gain maximum exposure. And, it allows you to craft the content of your messages. This last point can be especially important for using social media for a company or business.

I, for one, tend to check in on facebook early in the morning, say, around 6am, but I know it’s likely not many others are active at that time. When most activity occurs, midday, I am generally occupied with other work, so often I miss checking in then. Tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck can serve up my contributions to the social stream at a time when they are more likely to be seen.

But this has got me thinking lately about automation vs. authenticity.

Where it is truly helpful to utilize tools that give you greater efficiency, there’s a fine line in automating out your authentic voice, or worse, making you simply a one-way conduit of information. What I believe is among the biggest game-changers about social marketing is the fact that it enables–no, encourages–interaction and engagement. It is a two-way, or group conversation, that’s the beauty of it. When you share something, whether a thought, a news article, a photo or an activity, you invite interaction. You are starting a conversation. Automate too much, and you risk loosing your authenticity.

If everyone used scheduled posts or automated messages, the “social”would disappear from the network.

Automation eliminates-or at least postpones- interaction. Your contributions are hitting the social stream regularly, but you’re not there. When you automate, the focus becomes more about what you are saying, or in making sure you are “talking” rather than listening to others. And just like life, this doesn’t work too well, for too long.

It is no surprise that those with the most success in social media are those with the most authentic voices, and those who truly do show up to the party.


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One Comment to “Automation vs. Authenticity”

  1. Aaron Eden says:

    I think you’re right about the ‘social’ in networking and when it comes to automation, doing it responsibly is the key. What matters is that whatever automation tool you’re using, it must save you a lot of time so you can use those time to engage with your peers instead. In my case, I’m using my own and it only takes me like 30 minutes to schedule a week’s worth of posting. I then follow the 80/20 rule: as in 80% conversation and 20% automation. On the subject of authenticity, there are many factors involved and sometimes, just having fun and being human says it all.

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