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April 03, 2008


Mary A

Can you tell me more about what you mean by automation? I worked for a CEO of an internet based consumer goods company whose mantra was "machine over man." He believed that the technology should lead the customers to their needs and create additional wants, rather than having the customers utilize technology to meet their needs and discover new "wants." The intent was to place technology in the exclusive role of customer service agent and expert personal shopper - and thus placing the consumer in a subordianted role as reciever. I thought it was a condescending approach and I also thought it reflected the CEO's own tightly held desire to avoid personal contact with customers as much as possible. Reminds me of the fundamental mismatch you talk about - the CEO's desire was to get more customers and customer loyalty by offering a highly personalized experience through automation.

Alison Byrne Fields

I'd also like to understand what you mean when you say "automation."

But my primary reaction is that I don't think it matters that Obama can't comment on posts. The value that social media provides is that it enables democratic ideals: the voice of the people can be heard. We don't need to hear more from Obama because the mainstream media is handling that. His supporters are speaking out on his behalf and speaking to each other -- and the undecided voter. And I'm guessing he has people on staff who are monitoring what is being said about him -- and the campaign -- within social media.

Plus, come on, do we really want a President who's as much of a slave to his (or her) feed reader, Facebook status or Twitter updates as I am?

Matthew Hurst

Alison - you might be interested in reading 'linked' by Barabasi. It gives a pretty good description of why social media is anything but democratic. There is no *equal* capacity for each person on line to be heard.

I need to expand on this idea to explain what I mean by automation.

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