As an author, it is a medium of great interest to me, and I try very hard to keep myself informed of the many wonderfully creative developments. However, one aspect of social networking I am becoming increasingly concerned about is automation and what I would class as impersonal social behaviour.
I read an article yesterday written by a business guru here in Switzerland espousing the virtues of social networking for business. No problem there. Where I did find a problem was when the columnist explained how this could all be achieved in only ten minutes a day. With heavy duty automation naturally.
My problem is that this is not my definition of social. It is unsocial. I don’t want to socialise online with a recorded message, or inexhaustible list of silly quotes. I want to socially interact with real people.
For social networking to work for you, you need to have a personal approach. So for a business, it needs to have a real person responsible for monitoring and interacting with their potential clients. Otherwise, you may as well use email spam.
While I personally use feeds and pings for my blog so it can be circulated to a number of blog sites, I keep a careful eye on all the comments, which I receive by email, and attend to them all personally. Equally with Twitter. I can’t be sitting on a computer all day answering tweets, but I can allocate an hour a day or so to scroll my messages and answer or respond.
We live in a twenty-four hour world now, so to be effective there is certainly a need for feed, pings and scheduled messages. What must not be lost though, is the social aspect. That is why it is called social networking. As in real life, it is impossible to be social if you are not interacting with people.