Automation Conversations

Social media is going to enable conversations among people with similar interests and among buyers and sellers with similar interests.

Believe that? Many companies are in a rush to get a social media presence–any presence will do as long as they do it quickly.

While I was writing this, I happened to see my friend Jon DiPietro who has pivoted from automation integration to inbound marketing. He is talking tomorrow at the Yokogawa user group in New Orleans, but unfortunately I will miss it because I’m flying home. He told me he’ll be discussing social media as SCADA for your career. I’ll come back to this later.

I have always been looking for conversations online. In 1990 it was Usegroups on the pre-Web Internet. Then AOL. Then discussion lists via email. Then blogs with comments and link backs. Twitter. Facebook.

Somehow every one of these has really turned into an “it’s all about me” media. The best discussions I’ve been on were the first ones. comp.realtime, comp.c++ and many others that I’ve long since forgotten. People with similar interests asked and answered questions. The new place for those is a place that I am not on–Stack Overflow.

AOL had a metaphor of front porch / back porch. You sit on the front porch saying hi to people going down the street. If someone passes by, you go around to the back porch for a deeper discussion. I was on AOL from maybe 1993 to 1997. Could have been earlier, I forget. Never saw that happen. Most groups became dominated by a few loud, opinionated voices.

Same with list servers. I’m still on one for soccer referees, but the discussion is dominated by just a few. I’ve met most of them. Not really high level referees.

Most comments on high-tech blogs come from “trolls” who merely seek notoriety and seem to enjoy tearing people down. Twitter quickly went from conversations to either a “link blog” (how I use it–sending links to Websites I find interesting) or just making statements in a vacuum. That’s pretty much what Facebook is. Psychologists are studying typical Facebook activists and find similarities to narcissism in many. Just want to say something. I post basically places I’m at because a lot of my family tell me they like that.

The best automation conversations I have over the past half-dozen years are face-to-face at conferences. Hate to say it, but maybe the old fashioned way is the best way. Just fill in the gaps and touch people who can’t be there via social media.

About SCADA for your career? Jon’s got something. But it’s not a conversation. It’s getting known and discovering people. Those would be worthy uses of social media. Guess that’s what I’ve done 😉

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