Organic vs. Scheduled: Two Camps of Social Media Use

This post was originally a discussion thread I posted on MediaBistro‘s Social Media Bootcamp (#smbootcamp) where I am a group leader. There was buzz about it externally, so I had hoped to give it new life here for discussion. Fire away!

For a long time, I’ve watched, engaged, discussed and planned with other social media practitioners. The topic of scheduled content vs organic content is one that has always been in the back of my mind, but I found it hard to express given the large proponent of people taught and practiced to do it that way.

In my experience – and others like me, the only way to truly engage in social media – as an individual or as a brand – is as holistically and as organically as possible. Without living and breathing within it, social media becomes another channel that we as practicioners can remove ourselves from and therefore only use to pull or push. Our audience quickly sees this and discounts us as such. All of our hard work, planning and scheduling is for naught.

We can use calendars to enable us to remain on top of our own deadlines: when publications are being sent out and should arrive so that we can discuss their contents with our readers. When events are coming so that we can engage with people around their attendance or experiences at them. When interesting dates in history – ours or others – pop up so that we can create conversations around them with our audiece. But when we schedule things just to be present or to maintain active accounts, this is when our absence in social media day in and day out is extremely obvious, putting us outside as interlopers instead of as people, friends and thinkers.

If we do not have time to devote to becoming an active participant, partner, conversationalist and content sharer within certain platforms, then maybe those platforms are not the right place for us. ‘Being there to be there’ is rampant and overwhelms an already cluttered channel in social media.

I have a similar rant on using Klout scores, etc. to manipulate ‘influencers’ but I’ll save that for another day. :)

What do you think? Which camp are you in?


3 thoughts on “Organic vs. Scheduled: Two Camps of Social Media Use

  1. I completely agree!
    “If we do not have time to devote to becoming an active participant, partner, conversationalist and content sharer within certain platforms, then maybe those platforms are not the right place for us.”
    Social Media should be just that, “social”. It annoys me when I realize that those I am following are not really there. My reaction . . . a quick unfollow. I also get rather annoyed when, after newly following someone, I get a blatantly obvious, automated direct message advertising their facebook page or product. Pleaseee!
    I think you are right on target with this post, do social media the right way, the “organic” way!

  2. I really enjoyed this post. Editorial and content calenders have always been my worst enemy. I spend weeks building one to only glance at once a month. The description of your editorial content calender has given me a new perspective on creating one.

    As far as the organic vs. scheduled content debate goes, I think I sit on the fence. I actively engage organically with both my personal twitter accounts as well as my employers, but rely on scheduled content to fill in the gaps when I am away from the computer. I also use scheduled content as a method to test & establish the best times to publish to specific social media sites. I feel the only way you can succeed social media is by responding and engaging with your social circles with organic post, and scheduled content should only be used for publishing.

    If I am using going to use scheduled content, I try to humanize the posts by only creating them hours before hand versus weeks in advance, and avoid using the copy & paste content from a tweet button.

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