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Twitter Marketing Automation is a Glimpse of AI Saturation

Over-Automation on Twitter Hints of AI Saturation in Marketing

Twitter has long been a marketing favorite, but its growth prospects have been questioned.  The company has swapped out leadership, it’s bleeding talent (and institutional knowledge) and the CEO has asked the community for improvement suggestions.

Yet all these aspects just circle the edge and don’t really get after the root cause stifling growth.  In a recent discussion on Inbound.org, Sean Kirby noted, “Twitter has become over-automated.”

“There are products out there that will follow and unfollow people in an attempt to grow your following, send automated replies, etc.,” he wrote. “What’s missing is the actual human.”

I couldn’t agree more – over-automation is the core challenge preventing the social network’s growth.  It’s taken the “social” out of social media. However, this is really symptomatic of something very human: a desire to be needed and wanted.


The Humans Behind Automation

Sure, people to use automation tools to make Twitter easier (I’m a big fan of Buffer and Paper.li) but they also use them to “grow their following” to be an “influencer.”  Some of these new automation tools simply favorite keywords and hashtags for no other reason other than to try to attract followers. It is their stated purpose for existing.

This has distorted the basic human need for a sense of belonging.  Instead of a natural progression, as the result of experience and study, automation is fueling the notion that influence is something akin to a Levittown entitlement available for acquisition.

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The Future of Marketing and PR with AI

As a tech enthusiast, I enjoy studying machine learning and AI and the potential applications for marketing and PR.  I’ve experimented with Artificial-Intelligence-as-a-Service through IBM Watson — throwing spreadsheets of placements and web metrics to see if I can learn something.  I have concluded this is a tool that will make us better marketers.

But there’s a downstream risk too.  We are beginning to see in Twitter what marketing might look like with too much AI. Marketing is going to find it increasingly difficult to have real conversations and to drive real engagement that lead to tangible business outcomes.

If you have questions or comments, just have your bots get in touch with my bots.

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Photo credit: Flickr, See-ming Lee, Twitter: Error… (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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