Can Community Be Automated?

robotsIn our rush to scale social and plug it into every nook and cranny that seems like it might even remotely work, we’ve forgotten something – especially when it comes to community: You can’t automate relationships. Sure, you can put platforms in place for those relationships to take place. And there are a small handful of companies out there that do a great job of building platforms that enable those relationships.

But alas, as an industry grows bigger, people will always be there to try and game the system with technology.

Think about it. Robots are replacing people on a rapidly increasing basis. Smart robots, mind you. Look at the automotive assembly lines. Or just about any electronic device on the market. Automation improves speed, efficiency and quantity. But in the case of improving quality, that’s where things can potentially go off the rails.

On the flip side, if you keep an eye on fashion at all (especially for men), you’ve probably noticed a larg trend to bespoke experiences, whether it’s a personal shopper like Trunk Club or custom shirts via Blank Label. My point being that people/customers still yearn to have that high-touch, personalized experience. And that goes for communities, too.

The platforms make the introductions, but we know that to solidify those blooming relationships, offline is the key. And that’s just something that you can’t automate. Technology is great, but it also can be a trap – especially if you lean too heavily on it for building something that is successful and sustainable.




  • July 11, 2013


    I hate bots being used to automate conversations with people on places like Twitter. I hear the argument all the time like “It’s so much easier.” Well of course it is; who ever said it was easy to manage 1-1 conversations at scale? That’s the point. That’s why it makes it so much more of an impact when it comes from a real person.

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