Skynet, Gluten-Free Cupcakes, and the Paradox of Automation

Skynet, Gluten-Free Cupcakes, and the Paradox of Automation

Reader Comments (14)

  1. Sonia,

    I’m in love with your writing style. That header! You had me at gluten-free cupcakes. In all seriousness, a document of best practices? Heck, yes! Most of us bloggers want to deliver quality content without overstepping, or being “creepy”. It seems to be a fine line.

    GDPR is a good first step. Clumsy, I agree. And it seems to have a ton of bloggers freaked out. Too much legal jargon. I think we all would love an easy to read guideline.


    • Thanks, Ruth! Usually I structure headlines a little differently, but this one was rather insistent on seeing the light of day.

      GDPR seems to have sown mass confusion and there’s a lot of half-baked advice out there. Aweber and ConvertKit have both published solid resources that I’ve found useful.

      It would be utterly wonderful if the law had included the production of a one-pager for small web publishers to make sure they were following the spirit of the law, but the EU is not really known for making its regulations user friendly.

  2. “What automation does have the power to do is amplify our empathy.”

    Brilliant, Sonia.

    I think part of the problem is we collect more data than we have use for. Here’s what I mean – Google Analytics will tell you that I am a man. But if you don’t have something that is relevant to only men, why is that info even being collected?

    I think marketing automation fails because we can segment more than we need. Without relevant ads, content, and offers, what’s the point of that power?

    • I agree, and I think we’ve become overly obsessed with demographics (income, race, gender) and not obsessed enough with psychographics (values, desires, beliefs).

  3. Yep Sonia.

    I see automation as being A-OK but it depends on the energy used behind the automating campaign. If you hit the mark and address needs, whether the update flows via bot or human, it will be helpful. When folks read my posts sent via a plugin that tweets my oldies but goodies, they are not annoyed that a bot sent the post but happy to see a solution to their problems.

    The downside to automating is when folks use it solely because they fear interacting with other human beings. Then we lose the connection.

    Rocking post.

  4. Hi Sonia,
    I would love to see something like this introduced.

    I have made many mistakes since starting my online business journey, and a set of guidelines on best practices whether for data handling or other online principles would definitely help navigate tricky waters when as content creators we are sometimes unsure how best to proceed and can’t find anyone to turn to and ask.

    Thank you for all your work, and copyblogger’s commitment to guiding and teaching us all. Now more than ever, we need your help, and although I rarely comment on the blog, I would like to take a minute to say thank you and show my support.


  5. A good perspective Sonia…

    I am fond of automation. I am a firm believer that if it makes the job easy then go for it. A world where all the redundant and boring jobs being done by robots and the every person exploring their artist side – that’s the world I want to live for.

    The fear of automation to many people is losing out on jobs.

    But the flip side is if they are creative and visionary then many great new jobs will emerge – which will be better than today.

    When everything starts to crumble down and you see despair everywhere, look for the long term – it helps in clarity. And automation is a big thing for the overall evolution of ourselves, society and how we work in general.

    Fingers crossed.

  6. This was a great read, Sonia (so great I read it twice)!

    A little good automation can go a long way in helping people connect to their audiences in a meaningful way.

    I’d love to see a best practices doc.

  7. I’m personally not a big fan of marketing automation, such as impersonal direct messages on Twitter which I never read. So your article got me thinking, when is automation acceptable? For scheduling content on Pinterest, automated tools come in pretty handy. They allow us to post when most of our readers are actually online, even if we ourselves are travelling or asleep. So in that case it’s helpful to most of our readers as well as for us

    • One of the best uses of automation is with email, when you can actually make the messages more personal and relevant based on what people do (or don’t do) and who they are, what they’re interested in, etc.

    • Agree that the usual “automatic direct messages” on Twitter are horrible. (I confess I don’t know if there are tools to do them non-horribly.)

      But if you use Facebook, a few people are doing terrific ones on Messenger, giving you the relevant good stuff without sounding like a clone. And as Brian says, thoughtful email automation gives you a real chance to shine (and keep people’s in-boxes less cluttered).

      All tools suck when they’re used badly. 🙂

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