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Automated is the Opposite of Social

I just came across a blog post (won't attribute) that sparked a thought: so much of the web is automated now, yet the relevant web is not. It's produced by people for people.

The means of publishing, distributing, and sharing might be automated, but the generation of quality content is, for the most part, owned and tailored by humans. Created by humans.

I quickly searched (yes, using Google) for "Social Automation", and there are now of course a bunch of tools for automating social interactions. I've known about these tools for a while, I just didn't know it had a name for it. Social Automation. Sorry I asked.

Hootsoute, TweetAdder, TweetDeck, Echofon are all in this category. Generally they do the following for their happy customers:

  • scheduling updates. So you might write 24 tweets in a single setting, but schedule them an hour apart so you cover the day. I imagine you can scatter more randomly.

  • managing multiple accounts. I can see that, though I only have two twitter accounts and am fine using the primary interface.

  • Status update aggregation--updating multiple target sites.

You're not carrying on conversations, but it's easy enough to program that in:

"@randomguy that's so true!"

"@randomguy totally!"

I'm already bored with the topic.

Automated is the opposite of social. The more we leverage authenticity--authentic people, authentic meaning, authentic intent--the closer we will come to reducing noise in our interactions and greatly increasing the quality of our lives. Less noise, more signal.


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