Guest Post: A Response to “Let’s Reconnect and Return to the Roots of Social Media”


To view the original post Steve is referencing, click here.

There are several themes in your article;

  1. The use or abuse of automation tools
  2. The propensity to buy followers
  3. Reconnect to the roots of social

As mentioned in my Tweet, it’s a challenging article, particularly to those people who; Don’t know what automation tools (can) do; Care less about buying followers in this acquisitive/disposable age; Really just don’t care what the roots of social are (or were)

I agree with you that the use of automation tools to send out ‘regular’ postings would appear to be a reasonable way to keep in touch with ones audience e.g sending out a newsletter on the same day each week, providing this kind of thing is done with a personal touch (being in the ‘present’)

The use of ‘blind’ automation i.e without behavioural rules of some form, appears to be nothing more than a repeat of email spamming mechanisms. This was never good in terms of etiquette or good manners, but then sadly it still doesn’t stop people doing it for whatever reason (I’m sure there are many)

This suggests that it is really people who need to become more sophisticated and discerning in their usage of the various tools, and particularly the automation software they use (in a Social Media context).

It’s not just down to the tools though. In their own right, they’re just ‘dumb’ responders to the ‘audience’ who set them up and use them (for whatever purpose they choose).

This brings us then to the old subject of human behaviour, particularly given the explosion in use of social media across (now) multiple devices (a much more significant difference to the basic Mobile phone revolution which occurred around 10 to 15 years ago)

Different groups demand different things from the tools or capability. Some people naturally see the tools as genuine enablers of positive social behaviour i.e good conversation. Others have rightly seen the various social media tools as enablers of different ways of working which will allow them to make a good ethical living.

And then there are those who see these things as just another way to make a fast buck. At that end of the spectrum, would they really care whether we step away from the roots of social (when quite frankly in any world they would probably behave in the same way).

In simple terms, it seems that Social Media tools can certainly transform the way we live and do business. That’s great/positive in so many ways.

However, now that the whole genre of social tools are beginning to mature (I stress the word ‘beginning’), more intelligent forms of usage (from their audience) would be expected, providing they do actually give a ‘hoot’.

And it is this aspect of caring that gets me. Some are simply not aware of others concerns about how social media is used, some feel no shame whatever they do, some see this as a given right to behave how they wish, and quite honestly they won’t be stopped because Social Media now allows some of the less savoury aspects of human behaviour to rise to the surface faster and with more intensity than we saw in the  past.

The above sounds awful, unless someone comes up with an alternative, because of course we know they exist (as they always will)

That alternative requires articles like yours to get people to actually ‘think’ a little more, not just about the tools they use, but the reasons they use them in the first place, and critically the behaviours/manners/concern they exhibit when they use the things.

If at the very least people read articles like yours, and just think a little more before hitting a keypad, let alone using a particular tool, then a small vestige of progress has been made. This may mean the audience is actually considering what the very roots of social were originally intended to be (that is of course if anyone truly remembers what those roots were, whether these matter at all, and more importantly whether people actually care and are willing to consider or change their behaviour).

– Steve Martin

What do you think? Where is the line between automated and real-time social media? Comment!

About Author

Steve Martin was part of the Mobile Telecoms story for 5 years in the UK with Virgin Mobile. As part of that model (which then fuelled enterprises in different continents), he saw the quite phenomenal growth in products and usage (voice/sms) over a very short period of time. Back then of course, ideas were ahead of technology (hardware and software capability). Now, technology has essentially caught up, hence the burst upwards into the social media (applications and usage) sphere. At  least, that’s his perspective. Find out more about Steve –>

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