Social means personal.
It doesn’t matter what it is: blog posts, news bulletins, Foursquare updates, songs you’re listening to on blip.fm or iTunes, Zynga crap or (especially) direct messages. If you’re auto-tweeting anything on Twitter, it isn’t personal, and it isn’t social. It’s robotic.
And it’s cold.
(If you send those same faceless updates out to Facebook, Linkedin, Friendfeed, MySpace and everywhere else, multiply that failure accordingly.)
Here’s the thing – while it’s a nice gesture to automatically tweet out the posts and tweets of websites and users you like and trust, it also carries a lot of risk. Why? Because you’re giving something your approval before you’ve even looked at it. By sending out a link to that content with your name on it, you’re telling your followers that it’s something they should check out, too. That it’s good. That it’s safe. That you take responsibility.
But who knows what it is? Or what it was? It could be anything.
The New York Times can get away with it – there’s no risk because they’re only sending out their own content. Nobody expects any personality. It’s cold and it’s robotic, but that’s kind of what you expect from a newspaper feed.
It’s the exact opposite of what everybody wants from an individual.
Do the work. Be unique. Make it personal.