Personalization not Automation |

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Endorsed by the Chairman of KPMG, CEO of Whirlpool, CEO of Intuit, CEO of SAP, Gary Hamel & others!

Personalization not Automation


Posted by on November 23, 2008

A few people have been asking me about tools they could use to help automate the social media process.  To which I respond, why would you want to automate it?  To use an analogy, that’s like building a little “you” robot that goes around and starts pestering people at cocktail party, then once someone decides to talk, the “real” you takes over.  Jason Falls from social media explorer has a pretty interesting post up today which I recommend that you folks read.  It talks about managing the social media overload.

I decided I would my add my quick 2 cents here and say that you don’t want to automate anything that involves people and relationships.  People can smell automation and it reminds them of spam.  If you are expecting to build a relationship with another human being then is it really fair that you should automate while they are expected to be themselves and respond to you?  Why don’t we all just build little twitter bots that can communicate for us?

Nobody said relationships was easy, social media is not easy, but instead of thinking about automation you need to start thinking about personalization.  Don’t think about how you can create an auto-responder to your twitter followers, think about how you can create a quick little message to all of them.  I thank everyone and try to add in little quirky comments to every new twitter follower I get, not because I have to, but because I want to.  I love people and I love what I do, interacting with all of you makes this worth while for me and that’s why I do it.

Sure you can use services like ping.fm that quickly broadcast a message across your various social networks, but the key word there is “broadcast” remember you don’t want your conversations to turn into broadcasts!

Please, please, please, remember… personalization not automation

your thoughts?

thanks for reading!

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  • http://www.buzzmarketingdaily.com Carrie Kerpen

    Absolutely, totally agree. Automation in social media is seen as inauthentic, and exactly WHY companies that use it correctly are doing so well. Automation is how you feel when you call a company and never hear back. Personalization is how you feel when @comcastcares answers your question on twitter within minutes.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hey carrie, yep exactly. when i think atomization i think spam, i think random flyer on my car that i want to throw away!

      comcastcares is doing a great job with their personalization approach.

      thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Good points as usual, Jacob.

    I would say, though, that as a user of ping.fm, I wouldn't necessarily class it as just a broadcast – more just a way of keeping up-to-date across platforms. Even making a comment using Twitter directly is still a broadcast unless you back it up with further conversation.

    So perhaps it's more a case of people not automation? ;-)

    • MatthewRay

      But, Ping.fm and hellotxt ( http://www.hellotxt.com ) do take away from the reasons of being on specific social networks. You are there to talk to your audience – and each is different.

      You should have different audiences in each of your social networks (some interlinking) and you should be posting specific messages to that specific audience.

      Your LinkedIn people don't want to know that you you are going out with your crew all night at the bar and anyone around should meet up with us.

      But, if don't post messages like that, then you are in the clear :)

      Thats a big reason I wouldn't want to broadcast across all networks, my audience is different in each.

      • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

        I agree, Matthew, which is why I'll post individual comments when it suits the different mediums. :)

        • MatthewRay

          You guys see this yet? TweetLater: http://www.tweetlater.com

          Interesting site with keyword alerts and scheduled tweets…and autotweet.

          • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

            hey matthew, yep ive seen that. not using it though :) just havent seen the need yet. lots of new tools are coming out.

            thanks for reading and commenting. interesting discussion you and danny have been having there.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hey danny,

      well if you take a look at the first interaction then virtually every communication starts of as a broadcast, unless of course you invite feedback. once someone responds the conversation has begun. however, you have to allow and invite the conversation.

      i do see your point though.

      thanks for reading and commenting and dont worry, i havent forgotten about the guest post!

  • http://www.buzzstream.com/blog Paul May

    I think your point that automation in place of personalized communications is a good one, but there's nothing about automation that's inherently in conflict with personalization. Automation is just the replacing of manual processes with computerized methods, and there are plenty of examples of how it can be used to SUPPORT personalization. Yacktrack and Backtype are two simple examples of products that I use entirely to enable more personalized communications and that are only able to do this for me by “automating things that involve people and relationships.” I suspect that we'll see many new products in the near future that are designed to enable more personalized communications through automation.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi paul,

      excellent points and I think danny was trying to say this as well. the tools you mention allow you to find conversations but they don't actually create the comments and post them for you. automation is great for getting data/researching/etc. but when it comes time to actually make the conversation then that is where i think personalization comes into play.

      thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.digital-era.org sofiagk

    I don't disagree at all – however there is an increasing trend towards automation. Check out the (sci-fi scary) WordPress direct (<a href=”http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20081123/bs_prweb/prweb1652164″ press release is here. Who will be using this I wonder – and how long before the machine gets better than us?

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      interesting, thanks for sharing. there is definitely an increasing trend toward automation, but it depends what you are trying to automate. hard to automate conversations and relationships, and in fact you shouldn't.

      thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hey carrie, yep exactly. when i think atomization i think spam, i think random flyer on my car that i want to throw away!

    comcastcares is doing a great job with their personalization approach.

    thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hey danny,

    well if you take a look at the first interaction then virtually every communication starts of as a broadcast, unless of course you invite feedback. once someone responds the conversation has begun. however, you have to allow and invite the conversation.

    i do see your point though.

    thanks for reading and commenting and dont worry, i havent forgotten about the guest post!

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hi paul,

    excellent points and I think danny was trying to say this as well. the tools you mention allow you to find conversations but they don't actually create the comments and post them for you. automation is great for getting data/researching/etc. but when it comes time to actually make the conversation then that is where i think personalization comes into play.

    thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hey matthew, yep ive seen that. not using it though :) just havent seen the need yet. lots of new tools are coming out.

    thanks for reading and commenting. interesting discussion you and danny have been having there.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    interesting, thanks for sharing. there is definitely an increasing trend toward automation, but it depends what you are trying to automate. hard to automate conversations and relationships, and in fact you shouldn't.

    thanks for reading and commenting!


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