Let's Reconnect and Return to the Roots of Social Media

connect-20333_640There is a disconnect somewhere. I think we can all agree for Tweets to be sent out from a designer an hour after she is found dead, we are missing something quite critical about social media.

For more  information on that mishap -->

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2583297/Insensitive-disrespectful-LWren-Scotts-social-media-team-criticised-Facebook-Twitter-pages-continued-post-updates-death.html.

It has significantly shifted from a 'social' space, into a business commodity that is treated like it is nothing more than an automated machine to push out so-so content. It has become so 'normal' to buy followers, that I was accused recently of buying my own Twitter following, because there is "absolutely no way" someone could genuinely attract a following these days. The best part? Someone casually brought this up to me at a dinner, as if it were the most normal question in the world to ask. For someone who has worked nonstop to build her career from the ground up, it was offensive. I would not ask the same person if she bought her way into her own job. If I did, I would be scolded for having no tact.

My beef is not with this accuser, but more with the culture that's been created around social media as a profession. It was less this dinner guest's fault, and more the fault of society's casual acceptance of buying followers and automating all social media platforms. It was less L'Wren Scott's social media team's fault, and more the fault of professionals' abuse of automated systems.

Automated systems are fine to use when you need to send out a post at a specific time, but will not be by your computer. They are not okay, however, to rely on as the ultimate publisher for your social content, unless you are doing some of those posts in real time. Social media is about being PRESENT. It's about being a part of the social conversation that is happening NOW-- not three hours, or even three days, from now when you schedule your next post. It's time to step away from using automation as a staple, and step towards using it as a last resource to post when you can't make it to the computer.

Why? Because you don't always find out right away that your client passed away, hence, losing time to pull down those scheduled Tweets from their account. Because real life events happen in real time, giving you less than a second to halt anything you had scheduled for that day. L'Wren Scott's social media team is not the only one to fall victim to unforeseeable circumstances. Brands constantly are finding themselves in hot water for posting content that is suddenly insensitive because of a real time event that occurred.

The solution? Let's reconnect and return to the roots of social. We're in the social space to participate in conversations, not to broadcast our brand. Don't buy followers. Create content that is riveting enough to capture the right audience for your brand, and don't abuse automation. If you are going to use it, have a thumb on the trigger to halt content 24/7, and always have your eyes and ears on the news. Let's redefine the social media culture, and stop accepting buying followers and overusing automation as "norms", and start setting higher standards for authentic followers and authentic content.

-Marji J. Sherman

The Rise of the Content Thief

What All #SocialMedia Pros Can Learn from Joel Zimmerman (@deadmau5)