Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Social autopilot

Autopilot Engaged by Mike Miley, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by Mike Miley

Over the last 5 years or so my use of social media has enabled me to develop a diverse and wide network of contacts all over the world. It has also given me the chance to take part in many projects and    discussions that I would never otherwise have been involved in and has given me the opportunity to travel to interesting conferences as guest speaker. The benefits of sharing and networking are enormous but one downside is the fact that once you're on the treadmill it's mighty hard to get off, even for a short break. Anyone who blogs will have noticed that even a week of blog silence has an effect on readership. You have to keep posting, or at least it feels like that.

I sometimes prepare for a holiday by writing several blog posts and then letting Blogger publish them one by one at regular intervals. I've also tried asking a colleague to do some blog-sitting duty. However that doesn't cure a week or two of Twitter or Facebook silence. However there are now tools to cure even this "problem". If you want to look as if you're always online even when you're not you can try Buffer. You simply load up your Buffer account with messages, links and news that you want to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or a combination of the three and Buffer will then send your postings at regular intervals while you work offline or go off hiking in the mountains. Just keep it topped up and it'll do the rest making your network think that you never log off.

Only one drawback as I far as I can see. Social media need interaction to be social and this solution sounds more like broadcasting than interaction. You need to be online to answer questions and discuss. But as a solution for that week when you're planning to cross the Sahara by camel ...

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