Social Network Automation and Why You Don’t Want to Be Part of It

social media concept in word everything-pr

In the mad race for traffic and hits, how many online entrepreneurs stop to wonder about quality?

It’s my personal conviction that too many are mesmerized by their high stats displayed by the web analytics software employed for traffic analysis. What most of these webtrepreneurs fail to understand is that numbers are not relevant for the sales power of a site. They are not relevant for popularity either, and they are far from being relevant when it comes to quality.

What Is Social Network Automation?

I too am a user of StumbleUpon, digg, sphin, del.icio.us, mag.nolia, mixx, etc… Sure I am happy to see thousands of page views each day, but at the end of the traffic flood, the ones who actually take the time to read my stories are still my friends, my community – the people who already know me, trust me, respect me. These people are also the ones who stumble or support my entries anyway. Social networking is about sharing knowledge, experience, and fun. What is social networking automation about anyway?

I have only one definition: social network automation is spam.

Social network automation tools submit a link not to one or two social sites, but to twenty, thirty, sometimes more than sixty. Out of these sites not even half are relevant for the topic of the story. The apparent SEO advantage (links) that comes as a result of automation means nothing in the long run. The search engines are smart enough to identify the quality of a link.

Let’s take digg for example: a story with two-three votes will not bring the same SEO value as a story with 100 votes. As a matter of fact it will bring no value unless it gets indexed high in the search engines. But even then the real winner is digg – digg will get more clicks on that page. In the best case you’ll get half of the users who land on that particular digg page actually clicking on your link to read your story. Do I make any sense?

Is Social Network Automation Ethical?

We often question ethics in blogging. How many times do we question ethics in promoting our work?

There is nothing wrong with asking our friends from the social networks to “stumble” or “digg” a story if they like it. What is wrong is to submit these stories to social networks where we are not even active using some tools that were developed especially for this purpose. In theory these tools simplify our work, save time and help generate incoming links and traffic.

But isn’t employing such tools defying all that social networking stands for?

community

Social Network Automation goes against the basic principles of creating a genuine community.

With every use of an automation tool we mock the very ideals that are the basis of social networking. The social networking automation tools simply throw links in front of the users. In many cases these links are not even relevant for the members of the network, and sometimes they are not properly tagged or categorized. This leads to poor user experience within the network and the frustration of the users will eventually lead to negative votes on the story submitted with automation tools. Instead of ripping off the benefits of social media exposure the links thus submitted will be banned from the network or – in the ideal scenario – buried under other entries, more relevant and submitted by dedicated social network users who actively contribute in the community.

Comments

  1. Mihaela Lica says

    I think 2-3 is the number I use too – Twitter the most because I have the TweetMeme button installed and it’s really easy to click it :)

  2. says

    My practice is to every morning log on and tweet up as well as Facebook my latest stuff, especially if it hasn’t been done before. On occasion, I digg, stumble, reddit and fave my articles or wait ’til someone does that for me. I’m not shy about asking either.

    Early on, I used either SocialPoster.com or SocialMarker.com to move my stuff, but soon realized that I had to carefully choose which sites to submit my stuff to. In most cases no more than 6-8 sites will do, usually 2-3 at best in other situations.

  3. says

    This was an interesting article Mig and made me think of my own social network behaviour. I use FriendFeed to ‘push’ all activities from my blog, Flickr, YouTube etc. to my profile at Facebook, Plaxo etc. Does this make me a spammer?

    • Mihaela Lica says

      I use a few of these too, Renny, but not hundreds like other people do. I also don’t submit each and every article on my site to reddit, digg, SU, etc. I know you and I can absolutely say that you are not a spammer. :)

  4. says

    Agree with you, though conversion comes in many ways.

    I’ve found through teaching that people have deep seated preferences for cost leadership or differentiation.

    Cost leaders do everything superficially. They will auto- everything.

    Differentiators want quality and gravitate to niche businesses with high margins, as in real life.

    Still web stats are frightening. The passing traffic is alarming. And the people who quietly read my blog and never say hello online are equally puzzling.

  5. Mihaela Lica says

    Oh, yeah, I hate the idea of buying followers too – there is a service called uSocial that pisses me off the most. The best advice I can give to my customers is to stay away from such practices. I hope the Everything PR readers will understand these points as well as you too – knowing that social media is one of your main skills :)

  6. says

    Great points Mig!

    A similar practice that I disagree with is the recent trend of “buying” follower/friends, etc. I think that such practices are really short-sorted and totally contradict the networking value of social media.

    These programs have become popular because marketers and others are getting too caught up on the numbers game. Successful networking is more than just a numbers game, though.

    If anyone disagrees, think about this: would a purchased follower have the same interest in what you do as someone who follows because they like what you write and share?

    Good post!
    If anyone disagrees think abouW someone who follows

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *