To Be Social in the Moment or To Automate?

September 1, 2011
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To be successful in social media and to create quality content takes effort and work. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a matter of rattling off a 140 characters of verbiage into cyber space and instantly creating a following. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or a Blog it all takes careful planning and a solid thought strategy to make an impression in an environment where content is king and where being social is to be “in the moment”.

To be successful in social media and to create quality content takes effort and work. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a matter of rattling off a 140 characters of verbiage into cyber space and instantly creating a following. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or a Blog it all takes careful planning and a solid thought strategy to make an impression in an environment where content is king and where being social is to be “in the moment”. I used to believe that content was easy to create and it was a matter of just replying to a few people over my social networks, “liking” some pages and it would just happen. Not so, as many of you in the social media world are already aware it’s a tough marketplace to get heard and even tougher to keep the following.

Great, so I need good content and to post frequently, but I also like to have a life and don’t want to live on my computer. What now? Enter Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Both of these platforms have made social automated by allowing a person to schedule, watch and manage their social profiles. I admit to using both of these organizational platforms and am still not at the top of my content and engagement game. Where does this leave me? Is it possible to have a good balance of streaming interesting “stuff” without inundating my followers in brief periods of creative or alternatively forced, thoughts? Sure, enter Buffer.

Buffer is free software that is meant to organize your social web life. Fabulous! Even better, Buffer is designed to schedule your tweets for you. Seriously, it’s the lazy man’s dream to the social web. I fill it up with content, hit a button and it schedules and releases all my thoughts to my platforms without a second thought from me. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? The concept is appealing, it’s a time saver and it spreads out my tweets in a socially acceptable way. What’s not to like?

My issue with software like Buffer is that it takes away from the heart of what being social is all about. It’s not organic, or genuine. To me, when I tweet in a flurry or have a moment of creativity and pound out some content its usually because I am excited about something and want to engage with fellow users. If I have an automated tweeting system working for me, my response time to people wanting to engage with me will be lost and that is best part of being social. The back and forth conversation you have with people, live and on the spot. It still doesn’t solve the problem of having the content to post, but perhaps it will relieve me of my social tether when I am in need of a break from the inter-web.

I’m interested in your take. What do you think is it more important to authentic, real and in-the-moment with your social networks? Or is it all about optimal timing of your content and using all the tools to your advantage?