social networking

Authentic or Not? Part 5: Scheduled Tweets and Updates

automated tweets
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

automated tweetsAs the social networking scene becomes more crowded, busy, and chaotic, more people are experimenting with automating or outsourcing social media tasks.  But does this violate the spirit of authenticity which is so highly valued within social media?

One specific way some people automated their social media is by using tools to schedule status updates or tweets to go out later in the day  rather than manually posting them themselves.

Critics claim scheduling updates disingenuous because friends/followers assume the person is updating live. Plus when someone schedules updates, they are solely broadcasting and not listening.

Proponents of scheduled tweets say it’s genuine because they are posting what they would post if they were doing it in real time.  Scheduling tweets/updates saves time, eliminating interruptions, helps them better planning their social media, and helps them better engage their fans/followers but providing updates even when they are busy or away from their computer.

What say you about scheduled tweets/updates?  Authentic or not?

If you missed previous posts in this series check out the discussion about

  1. Ghost Tweeting, Facebooking, & Blogging
  2. Automatically following back
  3. Ignoring Tweets & Status Updates
  4. Automatic Direct Messages

–> Authentic or Not? Part 6: Syndicating Updates to Multiple Social Networks

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.


  • My thoughts. Scheduled tweets and updates from individuals are not an attempt to be "social", but to draw attention to themselves only. When they come from a professional (author, blogger, entrepreneur, etc), I think they are part of their marketing plan and not particularly authentic socializing, unless they offer some feedback at the end of the day. Such as, "Thank you for responding. I hear what you are saying." Or "Your comments to that statement are helpful in my new project." Etc. When they come from a church (scripture verses, event reminders, etc.), it is an authentic part of their community outreach.

  • I agree with Patricia. I usually stop following people, once I see that all they are posting to twitter are solely automatic tweets, etc. It is disheartening to say the least. I feel that people would much rather read my actual thoughts, then sprinkle in some posts from my site, or a verse that I have been meditating on in my quiet time, etc. Great articles Paul…

    • Hey Ryan, I agree with you, but what if some but not all their posts are automated? What if you couldn't even tell?

  • RE: Scheduled tweets/updates, authentic or not?

    I think questions like this often come down to one's purpose for using a technology (in this case, platforms with updating capabilities) and whether or not that purpose is being fulfilled.

    If the desired result is achieved, then that would, in most cases, validate the approach, i.e. scheduling updates. If not, then over time it will probably be found a waste of time, i.e. no one's listening.

    Personally, I think there's a time and place for being live vs. scheduled. Though I favor the immediacy of real time communication, especially when situations warrant, i.e. prayer. And at least having the opportunity for live conversation.

    Can you hear me now?

  • I think it depends on who or what is doing the posting… What I mean by that is if you are an individual doing auto posts and you simply have no plans of responding to the posts and it's the same posts every day then it's just SPAM.. Unfollow.. see ya later..

    For a business on Twitter that can be tricky too.I see Twitter becoming more marketing for businesses and less conversation. But it is becoming more conversational for individuals. I use an auto scheduler for my business sometimes to broadcast info about our company. But I also monitor Tweetdeck virtually 24/7 so if someone replies or RT I reply instantly.

    I also use Tweetdeck's new scheduling tool to post updates to my church's Facebook Fan Page that I run. I primarily only use the auto scheduling on the weekends when I'm not sitting at the computer. The goal is to inform and spur on conversation, which it does, and doesn't really require our input back into the conversation. And it's been very effective..

  • Great comment, Chris. I think it points to the fact that social media can be used in different ways by different people. For example, Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki) is considered a social media guru. He's followed by 250,000 people and pretty much all he uses twitter for is to broadcast links to interesting articles. Obviously, not everyone can be Guy Kawasaki, but that strategy works for him.

  • I am a bit divided on this;
    while I think that it is border line "Ghost Tweeting" which I do not agree with,
    I do think that there are good reasons to schedule tweets.
    In my case most of my followers are half a dozen time zones away, so it is sometime useful for me schedule strategic tweets and to maybe let some automated services send updated blog post updates.

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