Technology allows us to do amazing things to streamline our businesses.  However, we are reaching a point where by saving time, we are cheapening the interactions that differentiate our businesses. Here are a few examples.

Twitter validations and auto DMs (Direct Messages)

There are services like TrueTwit that purport to validate Twitter users so that the person holding the account eliminates spam followers.  But that means that when I- the real follower who may be a potential client, customer or collaborator- follows you, you are asking me to do more work to save you from a spam follower.  It seems quite selfish and is a very big turn off. 

Auto DMs run a close second- what’s the point?  A quick commercial to anyone that follows you (or the worst of the bunch, asking me to go follow you on some other venue too when I JUST followed you here) has no regard for the person on the other side.

Hoop-jumping emails

I was asked recently to endorse an upcoming book through a mass email (where everyone was copied- not even blind copied– by the way), putting the burden on me (and the others) to go click links to find out information.

First, if you are going to make a really BIG ask of me like that (to read your book and consider lending my name to it), couldn’t you take the five seconds to ask me personally?  Even if it’s a form letter, taking the time to write my own name at the top is a nice touch.

Second, if you are going to make a really BIG ask of me, make it easy for me.  Consolidating the links and information makes it easy for YOU, not me.  And that’s just selfish- again.


I often get asked for my time for phone calls and meetings.  Many of these times, it is because someone wants something-in addition to my valuable time- from me.  It could be support with a project or some advice.

Then comes the inevitable message that says, “I have a link to my calendar on the bottom of this email.  You can pick a time I am available.”  Now, theoretically, this can save the back and forth of comparing calendars, but I have to say, I find it distasteful.  If you want my time and then are asking me to go do other steps, I feel like it is putting an additional burden on me.  It may be perception over reality, but I personally find it a bit dismissive.

As technology makes it easier to consolidate, automate and streamline tasks, be careful of it erasing your common courtesy towards the partners, employees, customers or prospects that are on the receiving end.  Doing things a bit more quickly isn’t the be-all end-all and as more companies automate functions, those who remember to honor the individuals on the other side and treat them with care and respect will stand out in the crowd.

What other examples of automation eroding common courtesy are you seeing out there?