Since Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, Google and the countless other social networking and Web 2.0 platforms are now so much apart of everyday lives, there are an endless supply of tools that enhance our use of these various web platforms. Tools like HootSuite or Ping.fm that enable us to automatically post information on multiple platforms at once. Tools like the ones built into Constant Contact that enable us to “socialize” our e-mails and automatically post content or be alerted of fresh content.
I read a lot of blogs so I am daily reading about new gadgets that are designed to make my life easier as I maintain multiple Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and blogs. If a tool looks cool and I think it will bring some value I like to try it out, tinker with it and see if it’s worth it. Fortunately, many of these tools are free or inexpensive to the point where you don’t need an expense account to test or even use many of these tools long term.
The problem I’m noticing is that it becomes really easy to set a lot of these tools on auto pilot and forget that the whole point of social networking in the first place is two-way communication. By autotweeting all of our blog posts to our Facebook page and Twitter feeds, are we really practicing two-way communication? By auto-following back everyone who follows us on Twitter are we really sending the message that we’re there to interact? Is it really necessary to allow YouTube to post a link every time we upload a video?
I was called out (or at least I think I was) recently on Twitter for not being very social because I allowed Constant Contact to hijack one of my Twitter feeds and automatically post a newsletter with the #constantcontact hashtag. Whether the comment was directed at me or not, this person had a point. It’s not very social to have software communicating for you. Sure, it takes more time to actually read your Twitter feed and @reply, to ask questions and manually post the occasional plug for content you’ve created elsewhere, but isn’t that the point of social networking?