Don't worry, I still believe social media is cool, but check out the perspective in the article: "Automation Killed The Social Media Star" it is stated that, "Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) tweeted the following: 'Social media isnt cool. Human interaction is cool. Just fyi.' "
I like the thought process in the article and it just made me think about where automation is important and where it isn't. I don't like form email or spam, but those systems are better suited to automation. That and the "auto-generated reply" with unmonitored email address is so common, its become normal.
However, the idea of "social" means that I am interacting with people and I expect that level of interaction. The very fact that using this media I can reach thousands of people is a great thing, but their following is voluntary. From my perspective, if I don't like the way someone is handling their posts/tweets/etc then I have the power to stop listening and potentially re-transmitting the message to my network. I believe it is a self correcting market that will find a balance based on consumer choice.
However, automation (used responsibly) can be great thing: automatic mining and aggregation of information of what my fans/followers/etc are interested in so I can tailor my message to my audience. Automation is useful in helping us make sense of large piles of data that exist. I might use their trends to figure out what message I should develop to enhance my brand, develop more trust, increase following, etc. Even down to the demographics where I wouldn't use the word "dude" to sell arthritis medicine or use the modern vernacular of today's youth much like the awkward parent trying to sound "cool" to their children.
I wonder when we will see Tony Hawk pedaling Celebrex after a day of skateboarding with the grandkids... "putting the flip back in my inverted flip kick, dudes! "