Bots are ruining social media

I’m a game dev marketer and programmer. I love technology because it helps us making the world better. I also deeply love social media, how it enables people to share and discuss. I’m optimistic about the world’s future.

Courtersy of Real Humans, great tv show by Arte

Yet, bots are ruining social media right now. Bots are used in many different ways, but on social media it’s for spamming. For instance, on Twitter, bots help you gather posts, automatically follow people, schedule posts. The platform was not thought this way. 
Following someone means engaging with them. Getting interested in their work. When a bot does this for you, it kills this activity.

In the same way, Instagram has a lot of bots. These bots will randomly like posts, follow you, unfollow you, react with automated words such as “awesome!” or “Nice!!”. Yes, bot speaking for you. Because you’re too lazy to speak with people.

When a bot likes you instead of the actual real person, it’s a ghost activity. And over time, people start to know it. I now know that someone following 3000 people on Twitter isn’t interested in me. He’s interested in my follow back. He wants to grow his own activity.

Courtersy of Real Humans, great tv show by Arte

Companies are turning more and more toward these bots. They don’t know that engagement comes from a human behavior. Someone who gets interested in your opinion, your activity, your weaknesses. A customer is someone who trusts you with his mind and his wallet because he learns about you. The best customer for a company is someone who comes back, recommends your product and gives feedback on how to improve it.

I know why small companies will use it. They think it will help their communication with very small budget. Bots maker want you to think this. They give your positive numbers, rising stats, high hopes. They are selling the dream of growing your company with low efforts. But marketing and communication is effort, like everything else.

Obviously, there are great bots. Bots that will remind you some important deadlines. Bots that will improve your time management. But I think they always lack this quality, human like analysis we deeply need.

I’m currently making a bot analyzing twitter accounts. I ask myself every day: are these data really interesting? Is it really wise to show this data versus this one? Are these metrics really useful? That’s the problem about data. They always need context, explanation, education. We wish you could understand it in a glimpse, knowing what we know.

BMO, the cutest robot in the world.

So, why I am using the word RUINING? When people turn to bots, it means they gave up the need to trust real marketing people to handle their communication and growth. They trust these machines, which give them good numbers in return, and think it helps them. They put they trust in tools they know nothing about. It’s really easy to think that, because they’re automated, bots are better are everything.

People are growing tired of those bots and it breaks trust. On Instagram, how can I know how many likes are due to bots? How do I know my posts have a real reach business wise? Are those 20 likes only robots who don’t give a fuck about my project? I keep posting, but am I really growing my audience across times? Bots are ruining social media because social media is trust, share and discussion. When a bot does it for you, the trust collapses.

I like that, in 15 years, there’ll only be automated cars. I love technology, but right now, bots are ruining social media.