Jason DePerro asks Abu Noaman about the line between social networking and spam

I interviewed Abu Noaman, CEO of Elliance and Bright Innovation board memeber, yesterday asking him his thoughts on the merits/morality of automating social networking tools. I enjoyed his reply so much I thought i’d share it with you all.

Jason: What do you think of twitter tools that claim to boost your followers through automating following and unfollowing actions? For example Hummingbird. This does not currently break twitter use agreement, but I wonder if it upholds the intended use of the system. On the one hand, the software is able to accomplish in a few days the connections a human would make in months.

Abu: You restate the central fallacy of the social networking world, and automation in particular: “…the software is able to accomplish in a few days the connections a human would make in months.” True if you consider an incremented follower count tantamount to a connection.

Our perspective is that automated social-networking interactions are nearly worthless. Following everyone is the same as following no one. Auto-following everyone who follows you is no different, especially when your network grows beyond 100 or so followers. Having 100,000 followers is meaningless if each of those followers in-turn follows 100,000 other people: the likelihood that you and they are forming any kind of bond dives lower by the follower.

Jason: At large, what do you think of the morality of automating social networking actions? Do tools of this nature turn a good intentioned social networker into a spammer? Is that the division for the morality of social networking assistance/automation — content management = moral; content creation = spammer?

Abu: I think the well-intentioned social networker will keep sight of the fact that real connections are one-to-one, and accept that there won’t be hundreds of thousands of such connections to be had. What, you might then ask, is the business purpose of social networking if I can only really connect with (at most) a few hundred followers? To that question: You can connect with people without following them. You can search, converse, etc. But only connect with the people who add value to your Twitter stream. And hope – HOPE REALLY HARD – that people only connect with you because you add similar value to theirs [network]. The best you can hope for is to be followed by any number of people who follow very few others. You will really have their ear.

For more info about generating buzz on the net check out Abu’s blog Electronic Engagement or find him on twitter @noaman. Abu will be speaking on the topic of Social Networking to Get More Business this Thursday, check it out.

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