Scheduling Your Tweets? Congratulations, You’re A Broadcaster

Thanks to the crazy number of hours I spend in front of a computer screen, I see a ton of questionable content. The content is suspect because it is overly promotional.

I expect brands to fall into this trap. Brands have more than a century of bad advertising to convince themselves of the rightness of their chest thumping. Where things go wrong for me is when well-meaning people become lifeless and shameless hucksters.

On Twitter, in particular, people with promotional objectives in mind often use automated software to deliver a stream of supposedly worthwhile updates.

Why would people use robots to keep their Tweet stream full and fresh? The short answer is they bought a bill of goods sold to them by everyone from FastCompany to the legions of self-help marketers trolling the ‘tubes. The idea being that more content brings more followers and more followers means more potential leads and greater social influence.

Buffer–a service with one million users broadcasting phantom Tweets–says it’s a “smarter way to share.”

Be awesome on social media. Easily add great articles, pictures and videos to your Buffer and we automagically share them for you through the day!

Did you think, like me, that Twitter and Facebook and the rest were conversational platforms? They can be used this way, just like they can be gamed by people with something to sell.

I know I can simply unfollow all the ritual self-promoters, and so can you, but they will continue to exist and continue to make lame attempts at growing their influence online. So, unfollowing does nothing to solve the problem, it just mutes the mess on an individual basis.

Allow me make this clearer: I can’t get to know you if you’re not present. And I can’t get to know you by the articles you link to.

Maybe you don’t want to be known. Maybe you prefer the idea that you’re a personal brand, rather than a human being with countless vulnerabilities. As we know, the real-world looks quite a bit different from the projections we see on in our social streams. In reality, people are afraid, alone, angry, confused and many other difficult things that rarely get communicated.

In other words, the complexity of human existence is not coming through loud and clear in social. From a business perspective, you may wonder why the complexity of human existence matters. It matters because business is personal. I don’t want to do business with an automaton. Do you?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.