Altimeter analyst Jeremiah Owyang today led a panel at Le Web London with two of the hottest social media management tools out there, Wildfire App and BuddyMedia, which was recently acquired by Salesforce.com. As fierce competitors I was really hoping for some sparks to fly between the two companies but we are in Britain so (sadly) everyone behaved very properly.
Owyang asked why companies use social media management tool and the simple answer is scale. If you work at a large company or even a small company that uses multiple channels then you know the pain that these tools (hope to) solve.
For those of you just catching up to this industry, social media management tools are in the same phase of adoption and consolidation phase as CRM tools were in the early 90′s. And if you don’t know about social media management tools, there’s very little possibility you know about CRM tools in the early 90′s. So moving along.
The interesting part of the discussion was when Owyang started to asked about automation and where it should end. Earlier both brands agreed that social media is better when led by internal employees, not their agencies but here they started to waffle a little bit.
Sure some automation is okay for some people (think using Buffer to schedule posts) but what about when customer support on Twitter is being provided by a machine like those voice automated hell beasts we have to work our way through when calling our phone company? Owyang asked the unanswered question “WHERE DOES IT END?” (he cried into the night.)
No answers were given but it became obvious to me that the eventual end is that human race will be enslaved by our own algorithms and we won’t even know it. (or maybe we already are.)