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When content machines go berserk

May 14, 2012

Birmingham city council

Content takes time, and good content takes significant time, and sharing good content takes even more time.

Clients often ask me, “How can I automate my social media updates?” in an effort to save precious time. I’ve warned them that such time-saving measures can backfire.

For example, the Birmingham city council paid $8,900 in 2010 to have its own website,, in addition to the one already available for city government.

Every new post or calendar item is automatically shared on the council’s new Facebook and Twitter channels, presumably set up by the website’s template builder, CivicPlus.

Look at the valuable information shared on the council’s Facebook page

Birmingham city council on Facebook

And on the council’s Twitter account @CC_Birmingham

Birmingham city council on Twitter

It’s not that thousands of companies and organization do this (and worse) — it’s that I and other Birmingham residents paid for this poorly executed content monster with tax dollars.

I won’t bother with an extensive website critique, but in my esteemed opinion … it’s pretty sucky.

The simplest formula for communicating successfully online with an audience is …

  1. Make and post great content.
  2. Share it with your audiences in a deliberate and thoughtful fashion.
  3. Repeat.

I hope I saved you $8,900 and the embarrassment of using a content machine gone berserk.

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