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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Hey Stranger: Why I am not LinkedIn with You

Let's both admit that this is about me not joining your LinkedIn networkI don’t know you.

You have to set your social media boundaries, and when it comes to my professional reputation I mean business.

I don’t know this user. I do not click that button; I think LI needs a better reject or decline option. But if we’ve never chatted on a message board, haven’t talked on Twitter, why would I?

  • We are not in the same groups.
  • We have not done business together.
  • We did not go to school together.
  • We don’t share the same connections.

Even if we are all of those things, it still doesn’t mean that I know you. Just because we read the same blog post, like wine and breathe air doesn’t mean we’re connected.

Networking (adding connections or friends) is not counting marbles, for me it’s about professional development. LinkedIn is your online resume, your “professional” face to the world.

Now I know some smart people not on LinkedIn. For the link juice to my own site and blog, IMO it’s worth maintaining a strong LinkedIn profile just for the SEO. YMMV.

The Business Side of Social Media

Sure there are virtual friends in my LinkedIn connections, people I know via Twitter, LI groups and blogs. While we may not have met “in real life,” very real relationships have been made.

LinkedIn can be a powerful networking and business development tool. I have answered questions, shared blog post and other articles with my groups. It’s helped me connect with smart people, increase my blog readership and grow as a professional.

Like anything else with social media, LinkedIn is not “set and forget.” You get back what you put in.

You’re a Diva, Rock Star, Maven? So big with the NOT caring

Random LinkedIn requests are just as odious as the “thanks for following, here’s the link to my useless FREE crap” Direct Messages (DM) on Twitter. Ugg. (I don’t do that, promise.) LinkedIn is a social network to be sure, but it’s still about making connections, not selling yourself (even if you are looking for a job).

I love meeting and connecting with new people, but I’m not going to help you pad your numbers.

Do you connect with anyone and everyone on LinkedIn? Please share why or why not.

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Five to Follow Friday: Challenge Yourself

Another Friday, another day to recommend folks to follow on Twitter. I try and take the time to THINK about who and why I recommend people. It goes back to my first Five to Follow Friday Challenge.

I think we need to take a follow break until you get your Twittering under controlIf someone is out here on Twitter, then they kinda sorta already are in social media. After a while, you do tend to see, read, share the same info over and over.

I’m always looking for more. I read that @MackCollier follows 15K Twitterers. I’ve been more generous with the Follow button lately, but I still feel like a slacking slacker who slacks, not even following 1K.

Here five folks to follow, from different walks of life that hopefully you’ll find interesting:

  1. Everyone eats right? Why not follow local chefs and restaurants in your area, see what they have to share? Among others, I follow Michael Erickson, @FifthGrouper, who’s with the Fifth Group restaurants in Atlanta.
  2. And since you’re eating, you gotta drink something right?! Matthew Horbund is @mmWine, a wine blogger from Florida who’s good peeps.
  3. Tim Siedell aka @badbanana I like to bring the funny to #FollowFriday and this is a good feed of quips and oddball goofiness.
  4. Gila Fox, tweeting for @Valpakcoupons, is a social media pro who’s fun, real and gets the whole engagement thing.
  5. Bryan Cromlish, @bcromlish Why? Because we had a nice little chat this morning about @AmberCadabra‘s latest post, a Dear John to [clueless] PR Folks. Simple, easy and fun.

See folks, it’s not that hard. Got someone new for me to check out, please leave your suggestion in the comments.

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Twitter is Work, Damnit!

The fact that I follow you on Twitter but you don't follow me is further proof you're not willing to put any effort into this relationship

Inspiring this blog post is Augie Ray of social media and Forrester fame, who tweeted this gem today:

The latest numbers show most people give Twitter a 10-tweet tryout and give up. Augie wanted to know why people quit on Twitter.

He got a few interesting responses including:

  • @dan_larkin “There’s no “getting started” assistance. A host service looking for those people and engaging with them would fit the medium.”
  • @digital_chuck “Lack of engagement. First time users give up before they learn how to follow and engage with people who have common interests.”
  • @geoff_bilbrough “no patience”
  • @triveraguy “I doubt that it differs from the typical adoption rate for trying ANYTHING new. Twitter is just measurable & more in the spotlight”

Twitter is not for Quitters

I am not telling you how to Twitter and am all for finding your own way. That typed, 5-minutes a day and 10 tweets isn’t engaging. It is drive-by shotgun marketing, just shooting farts into the wind.

Would Coke run five commercials and stop? Would Apple try only one iPod and never make changes? Of course not; you have to try, try and try again. Find what works, make it your own.

My response, which he retweeted (and thanks for that Augie):  “Didn’t realize Twitter was work. Like anything- you get back what you put in, SM takes investment of time and commitment.”

Tough sell: Social Media is Work.

Just this morning I read a post about a blogger who put the time and work in to blogging and tweeting, and as a result is working for P&G at the Olympics. While others consider Twitter a time suck, she invested that time and energy and it paid off for her and her business.

Social media is job and for any kind of connection or business success, networking is essential. Twitter can be a powerful and effective tool, if you commit to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I know we in social media, PR and marketing take ourselves (and our blogs and tweets) too seriously at times. I know so many folks with “real” jobs that don’t involve any SM, or even online presence and just roll their eyes when I mention Twitter. (I know more people NOT on Facebook than on, just say typing.)

Twitter is not for everyone. If you want Twitter to work for you, you gotta work at Twitter.

The point of this Code Yellow rant is simple: Twitter is Work.

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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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