Automation: Faking It the Twitter Way

I’m as sick of some of the so-called “rules of engagement” when it comes to social media tools like Twitter as the next person, but let’s get real. You call tech support, customer service, hell anyone.. what do you want more, the automated unhelpful phone crap or a real person?

I think we can all agree that Auto DMs and follow backs are bad robots. IMHO automated tweeting is the unholy stepchild of real-time work pressures, ADD, narcissism and Al Gore’s Internet.

Here’s looking at YOU fakers:

Tweeters who automate.. virtually every last tweet. Why bother? Twitter is real-time. If you’re not doing it LIVE, it’s drive-by tweeting. You’re fraking broadcasting, not embracing “the great conversation.”

Sync your Facebook, LinkedIn, blog and Twitter. Fine. But scheduling 20-50 tweets a day, when you’re only around 5 minutes for real conversations is lame.

A little automation may be okay, but if anything more than 20% of your tweets are preprogrammed, that’s bullshit.

Tweeters who RT crap at super (automated) speed:

  • Dead links, so I know you aren’t really reading. DOH, busted!
  • The same crap already retweeted by everyone else. You follow @Mashable. Joy, now find something else worth sharing.
  • The next post by @BigName. Within 2 minutes of the initial tweet. Sure Brian Solis may know his stuff, but his posts are like graduate symposiums, don’t think you read it that fast. Enjoy your Kool-Aid.

Tweeters who just hype their own crap. If you’re scheduling half your tweets, odds are they’re mostly about you. Stick to an 80/20 rule: if more than 20% of your tweets are all about you, get over yourself.

Tweeters who are fakers. Unless you’re POTUS, you are NOT so important that you can’t type the occasional 140-character post. I cackle at the irony that @AndersonCooper is a verified account but at least there’s disclosure of the group effort.

Not saying he’s the devil but I don’t follow Guy Kawasaki. He doesn’t tweet himself, automates most of it, rarely replies. “His” stream shares the work of many others without the credit of a retweet, and even after coming out as not tweeting himself, the tweets and replied are not labeled by ghost writers via initials.

Not saying he’s doing it “wrong” either. He’s upfront that he’s all business and AllTop, gotta give him that. I just don’t care for his style, but then he has the bigger bank account so what the hell do I know?

Those Pesky Exceptions

You can’t watch or feed your Twitter stream all day long, you’ve got actual work to do. Automation is not a crime, but a little goes a long way.

A great example is Gini Dietrich, who does automate some of her tweets. She also makes the effort to follow in real-time, reply to her stream, retweet others and reply to comments on her blog. She engages, she participates, she “gets” it.

Then there are exceptions like @ShitMyDadSays and @ThisIsSethsBlog. The catch is that I know these “tweeters” are not out here pretending to be anything more than automated feeds.

Do you like automated DMs and RSS feed links, the “set it and forget it” style of Twitter? Fine, embrace your way of faking it.

You’ll just have one less follower.

Photo Credit: HubSpot via CC license.

Atlanta Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

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Follow Friday Challenge: The I’ve Been Stingy Edition

I haven’t done one of these in a while, forgive my stinginess. Ahem.

I like to challenge myself to find and follow folks on Twitter who are outside my comfort zone of marketing, social media, PR and small business. Then I run into the oxymoron of “if they’re on Twitter, they are using SM.” Probably just me.

My five to follow this week:

  1. Adam Vincenzini tweeted a question the other day, asking for a non-social media or PR blogger to follow. While anyone who blogs might be considered social media, I totally appreciated his oxymoronic point. I loved his question, so Adam is first on my list.
  2. Follow @Redheadwriting was my suggestion to Adam, as Erika Napoletano brings humor and snark to her posts about whatever is on her mind. I need to find more not really social media types to follow on blogs and Twitter and she’s a perfect example. We could all use a good Bitch Slap every once in a while.
  3. Kate Spiers tweeting as @WisdomLondon asked a simple question about Twitter rules of engagement. A nice little chat ensued, showing the benefits of the real-time application. Plus she lives in London, is sure to have a fab accent.
  4. Rose DesRochers I met via @DannyBrown’s #sbt10 chat. She blogs a little of everything including teen fashion, blogging basics to novelty sleep masks. Love eclectic, she tweets as @BloggerTalk.
  5. Always gotta include a funny one and don’t think I’ve given them a shout out before so here’s some love for @OHnewsroom and the frackin’ hilarious media and journalism tweets. I’d love to know which paper or media establishment produces these.

If you have any suggestions, please share.

Photo Credit: Twitter Nonsense by Pink Sheep

Atlanta Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media

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Blog or Rant: What’s the Difference, Damnit?!

I loves me a good rant. Scott Stratten at Unmarketing, Bad Pitch Blog, Danny Brown and many others have written great rants on social media and public relations.

Going through several unpublished blog drafts, I moved more than a half dozen posts into a Rants Not Good folder. Just collections of random thoughts or examples of bad tweets, like social media experts who RT all the time… and it’s dead links so you know they are not really reading what they are sharing.

Maybe it does, as it’s more spontaneous and heart-felt. The closest I’ve done and published was a gripe with a bad direct marketing campaign, easy enough to make it relevant to my readers.

I don’t know, this is obviously just filler post but I work at it. I always look for good ideas and source materials for the link love, and yet so many of my thoughts I deem rants and thus, unblogworthy.

I think self doubt is hard-wired into us. And that is a good thing, if it keeps you working and moving forward to being better, doing more and really adding value.

And yet how many times have I read something on Mashable or somewhere, that was picked up by Social Media Today or retweeted a lot, and thought, “I can write or rant something just as good, maybe better.” Hmmm.

So on the Jack Bauer Security Alert Scale, where do your blogs fall?

  • dammit Situation green. Aw shucks “Damn, why did I not blog that?” as you read great stuff by others, RT and save the link to add to your own posts.
  • Damnit You really feel strongly about this, with a capital D. You have charts and stats and links damnit.
  • Damnit! Punctuation mark means you mean business! You won’t let others get away with their wrong ideas and myths and will set them straight.
  • DAMNIT All caps are ON and all bets are OFF and you are hella pissed and will shout it to the world. You’re Peter Finch damnit.
  • DAMNIT!! The all caps and punctuation are out in full force, bringing friends Cursing and Swearing along to the party. Gloves are off, the Man Purse is loaded for bear and your blog will Save. The. World.

A blog, rant or mindless drivel, I guess the point is to just put it out there. Maybe Danny Brown is right and we need to just hit publish already, Damnit.

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Social Media, Public Relations, Marketing in 2010: Looking Back, to the Future

(aka The obligatory New Year’s blog)

Expecting a countdown of best Social Media moments or worst Public Relations goofs for 2009? A list of top SM or social marketing or PR trends for the past year? Not here. Marketing predictions or PR Trends for the future? Nope. A “touchy feely self-help yoga crap” blog full of introspection and optimistic BS. So not gonna happen.

I am closing out the year with a little recap. In 2009:

  • I have invested time networking and connecting. And in many ways, it’s been one of my most productive years.
  • I’ve read, shared, linked and retweeted countless blogs and stories. And I added my two pennies worth of comments quite a few times.
  • I’ve taken control of my online identity via Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, and my Google profile. And locked down (as best I can) the crappy Facebook privacy settings.
  • Like other public relations professionals, I studied and followed social media. And now I am applying what I’ve learned and continue to learn everyday, adapting and using it to help myself and my clients. I have embraced social media and social networks with both hands, and I am a better communications professional for it.
  • Oh and I cleaned up my office a little this morning, reducing the clutter for 2010. That is all.

Now back to work.

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Coattails of Giants: Link bait and the Social Media C.C.

In his review of a new book on social media, blogger Mark Schaefer suggested that SM is a little like a country club: exclusive. It’s an interesting post that has evolved into a great debate.

Is there a Social Media club or in-crowd?  Sure.

Many commentators, myself included, posted that his argument has some merit. There is a mutual admiration society in PR and SM, with folks quick to champion and compliment each other, especially “thought leaders.”

I.E. what I call “drive-by tweeting” or instantly RT almost anything and everything without actually taking the time to read the stories, just because of who tweeted it.

  • I’ve seen it done in rapid-fire succession, moments after the post with no time to have read the blog.
  • I have seen the same tweet RT’d over and over and over…and the link was bad. Either everyone loved the “come read my blog” tweet, or thought the blogger had a kick ass 404 page.

“I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.” – Groucho Marx.

No, it’s not a clique.

Social media is about choice: opting in or out, deciding whom to follow or not. Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn are open to everyone, nothing exclusive about it. (Doing it well, another story.)

Other comments mentioned that yes, there are smart people in SM, who are connected to each other and naturally read, share each other’s content. Which makes a lot of sense.

We came to that blog post for the same reason; we are interested in the topic: social media. I’ve found people, and people have found me because I write and comment about marketing, PR and social media. Since we’re all interested in the same topics, we follow the same people, join the same LinkedIn groups and so on.

It’s not groupthink; it’s community.

Being in a community, don’t we keep each other honest? Since “we” (excluding my slacker self) are in the know, are we more or less likely to call out each other’s B.S.?

Original poster Mark Schaefer, Beth Harte and a few others have a solid debate going in the comments thread; good back and forth, give and take on this issue of a “social media club.” It’s even spilled over onto Twitter. Better yet, the conversation has turned into a great discussion, with excellent comments from many including:

As interesting and thought-provoking as the original post may be, the comments thread is amazing and worth the read. A well-developed discussion, arguing various positions and opinions: Edward Boches, you should be proud.

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