I recently participate in an Twitter chat where the conversation turned to whether or not it’s a good idea to automate social media activities. The conversation primarily revolved around whether the “always on” nature of sites like Twitter require that you tweet 24 hours a day, since your followers aren’t necessarily in the same time zone.
Good suggestions that came from the chat included using tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule similar messages throughout the day so all of your followers get the information, regardless of their time zone. Other, more controversial suggestions included allowing automated services to generate tweets for your or using filler tweets like paper.li digests, Foursquare updates, and auto-retweeting of certain “trusted resources”.
In the end, there was a strong consensus that while some automation is valuable, over-automating your social media activities actually defeats the purpose of building individual relationships with your customers or community members.
Personally, I do leverage tools like Paper.li, but as an aggregation tool, not for the purpose of filler tweets. I do schedule some of my blog posts and tweets, especially when I know that I’ll be in meetings throughout the day, that way I don’t spam my feed with 10-15 links at the same time during the 30 minutes that I have to surf the web or stumble some favorite site.
I also am not a fan of posting FourSquare updates, quotes from famous people, or trivial content like ASCII twitter art. My thought is that if it’s not useful to those that choose to follow me, what’s the point? These are just my preferences, though.
Do you automate your social media activities? Do you expect those that you follow to tweet/post 24×7? I’d love to hear what level of automation you feel is enough and what is too much.