On the recommendation of a very trusted communications colleague, I joined Solo PR Pro today. When you're working in the virtual world it's nice to have a network to liaise with and bounce ideas off. Plus there's a ton of good content to download that is useful for Herb Communications.
It was a very automated sign-up process: click link, enter details, confirm, get automated e-mail with log-in information and there you go. All done in around 10 minutes tops.
That was great because I wasn't expecting anything else, really. Had no wish to chat live with someone, ask questions etc. I knew what I wanted and the software robot took care of it all fast and easily.
It's not social media per se, but reminded me of Danny Brown's recent blog post entitled How Social Media Automation Can Encourage Engagement. Been following Danny for quite a while and first met him back in 2009 at PodCamp Toronto when we saw Chris Brogan's presentation. (OK, better stop it there, the namedrop alert is sounding.)
Danny always seems to have strong views on the issues he covers. In the above post, he leans towards being in favour of social media automation ... to a point.
He writes, "While these are valid points, they’ve also got business owners and marketers questioning the value of automation in the social space and wondering whether it’s destroying the fabric of social media’s early promise.
"And while I can agree -- to a point -- that it can be bad when it’s implemented wrong, I’m also a supporter of automation and disagree that it’s 'stealing social’s soul.'"
I can live with automation to a degree too. It's convenient and easy to set up. When insomnia strikes at 3:00 a.m. and you're tweeting away, do you really expect an instant reply? Nope.
I much rather prefer cybersilence to those automated DMs that are often mini sales pitches for something.
It's nice to get a real, related reply from a brand's rep or question back. Sometimes it takes awhile and you lose track of what the reply was connected to if you're a precocious tweeter (preeter?).
But SOCIAL media still rings true with my beliefs. Hanging out, companionship, friendly, relations ...
Robotic automation won't be able to replace those elements to the same level of success that a person "at the end of the line" can.
So, I for one, won't welcome our robotic social media overlords anytime soon!