Automation is the process by which actions and procedures traditionally performed by human are getting machine realization. The main idea is the reduce human assistance as much as possible. It covers such a wide range of different applications, that we are dealing with hundreds of automats without even knowing it on a daily basis. We are working among mechanisms, navigate with their help, it is even impossible to kill our time in socials without facing automated systems -- Instagram automation has become a routine practice. There are lots of talks about this recently, but what is the essence and boundaries of automation? Will it release us from the necessity of hard work or this view is too utopian? Would it be as joyful as we think of it? It is too hard to tell. In this article, we will look at the history of automation, the most interesting, weird, wide-spread and useful cases and will talk about the way our daily routine can be automated.
The brief history of automation
Before automats became widespread in our daily routine, it took a long way for them to come into our lives. The history of machines is fascinating, maybe even more thrilling and long-running than ours.
Early history: the first machines
It’s hard to tell where the first machine was made. At least we can assume that the need for automation emerged after the Neolithic Revolution -- the transition to the productive economy. Unlike hunting and gathering, even the most primitive agriculture demands some forms of technology. For example, the necessity of measuring and indicating time resulted in the invention of a water clock, the invention of the first irrigation systems was to help with working the soil.
The uprise of the first machines is impressive, but these mechanisms weren’t automats in the narrow sense of this word. It took about two thousand years more to create first automatic control systems.
The rise of automats: Industrial Revolution in Western Europe
Without waxing too poetic we can say that the Industrial Revolution is one of the most significant episodes in the history of humanity. During the short period of time from about 1760 to 1840, the wide range of important technological innovations was invented: the usage of steam power and the first engines, cement, gas lighting, mass glass production, etc. The common thing among all of these technologies is the transition from hand production methods to machinic ones.
But when it comes to automation processes, the important feature of this period was the push of fundamental sciences, such as pure mathematics, logic, information science. The XXth century was booming, and this wouldn’t be possible without the Age of Steam.
The XXth century: mass communication and digital logic
It may sound dispassionate, but war and technology are always related to each other. So, despite the fact that the First and the Second World Wars were horrible for humanity, they have made a positive impact on technology development. The most significant advances were made in the fields of mass communications and signal processing. If there is at least one advantage of the Cold War, it is the invention of the Internet -- it is widely known that the early development of the web was done in behalf of the military needs.
At least nowadays the Internet is used mostly in peaceful ways and help people in their everyday concerns. Moreover, the web is the giant field of different actions which can be automatized. The internet is already full of bots: according to the recent statistics, the vast majority of internet traffic and website visits are made by different types of automated programs.
Where automation is used now?
In a nutshell, everywhere. Starting from the Instagram automation and ending with the war machines. Let’s look at some noticeable cases.
It is highly unlikely that at least anyone enjoys household, so it is not a surprise that people are trying to delegate these responsibilities to machines. We are far away from having fully-automated cyber-Cinderella, but it is already possible to connect all home devices in one centralized web. So-called smart home systems can automatically control lighting, entertainment systems, climate, home security, and appliances. These systems are centralized and controlled from the one device: it may be wall-mounted terminals or just a web interface, accessible from the desktop or mobile apps.
This kind of services are fruitful, but not cheap: the price may go up to thousands of dollars. The most primitive and cheap alternative -- smart lighting -- is far more affordable: it may cost about $200.
Since the major operations in the restaurant establishment are quite repetitive, it may be automated -- and it is. This is quite an innovative and unusual practice for westerners, but habitual for the Japanese: since the 1970s, shokkenki (the name for those eateries) are working among Japan and some of them don’t need any kind of human assistance whatsoever.
Since this technology is so advantageous, that it starts spreading upon the globe. The major fast-food chains are automatizing order taking, serving and billing. It helps to notably speed up their services.
Automats for your profit: Instagram bots
Now it is evident that automation can simplify our daily routine, but how can it be used for commercial purposes? Let’s pass industrial automation and speak of features which can be used for workers or small businesses.
One of the essential concerns organizations are facing is a promotion. Despite efforts to service quality, one can lack profits just because of the lack of customers. To gain recognizability is not an easy task, but one of the most effective ways of doing this is to promote in social media.
Instagram may be the best option in this case -- when it comes to users’ engagement and potential, Instagram is second to none. But this platform is harshly challenging: it is overflowed with content, so it is hard to be noticeable. You have to be as active as possible: post regularly and just on time, interact with your followers and gain a new audience. It takes a lot of effort, especially if you are starting from scratch -- you have to literally grind to it, profusely doing the same actions: likes, follows, comments, DMs, etc. Here’s where Instagram automation gives a helping hand.
What they are capable of?
Best Instagram bots are multitasking: they can replace lots of different activities. Strictly speaking, there are 5 main functions:
- Auto likes. People tend to appreciate any form of attention to their stuff, even such simple ones as likes. The Instagram robot will automatically like dozens of posts -- people will like you back.
- Auto follow/unfollow. Followers are essential -- everyone wants their minute of fame in social media. Instagram follow bots will help you to gain an audience by mass following other users to get part of this follows back. Others will be unfollowed automatically.
- Comments. Instagram comment bot will deliver prewritten commentaries to the chosen target audience so that you will be noticed.
- Direct Messages. The concept is the same: bots can send your messages to all of your followers. It is more effective, because DMS is the most humane and personalized manner to reach out to your audience.
- Scheduled posting. It is essential to have a rational content plan. If you can’t post on time, an Instagram bot will help you to do it at the right moment without your assistance.
Is Instagram automation safe?
The drawbacks of Instagram automation
This solution may look efficient, but, on the other side of the coin, there are some pitfalls you should mind. You can overcome some of them but several ones are, unfortunately, in the nature of automation.
The most significant one is the artificialness of a content bots produce. Unfortunately (or luckily), the technology itself is not so perfect. When it comes to monotonous technical tasks, it works well, but it is still impossible to automize human emotional relations and affects. Let’s take auto comments for example. It is hard to come up with the meaningful template of a comment which will fit any random posts. The best thing you can construct is something like “Wow!”, “Damn!”, “Nice shot!”, etc. Since these ones will never count the context, auto comments may occur extremely inappropriate. Let’s imagine the next situation: someone is posting a video and getting the auto-posted notice “The pic of the day!”. Doubtedly the user would like to follow back the author of such a preposterous commentary. So, it’s better to use it wisely or in very restricted amounts.
This is applicable to DMs also. Instagram bots can’t mimic human behavior so well to have a comprehensible dialogue with your followers. So, don’t rely on that and use it for distribution only.
Another serious drawback of constant Instagram bots usage is potential credibility loss. If you are using automation a lot, your account may become spammy: lots of random followers, strange comments and likes may hurt your brand’s image. So, it is better to understand: bots is a temporary decision for a little boost at the beginning. At the end of the day, you are aiming to get real and engaged audience, and it is possible only by the organic way after.
The next point should be obvious, but judged upon the popularity of the query, it is worth clarifying: there are no free Instagram bots. You have to pay for these services, and if you want to get a qualitative bot, the price may be significant.
Instabots: to use or not to use?So are these bots price-worthy? Well, at the end, you are the one to decide. Despite all the drawbacks, it may be useful in case of a reasonable approach. It is an allowable tool for giving your account a little boost for a start or to delegate some tasks, but not to rely on completely with your Instagram promo campaign.
If you decide not to use it at all, you’ll have to put lots of time and effort in other means of organic Instagram growth. Here is some piece of advice on what to do. It will be also useful for those, who want to get organic growth after bot usage:
- Elaborate on the target audience. Who are those people you are going to address to? Where do they live, how old are they, what kind of content might attract them? After answering these questions, think of hashtags your target audience might use and what accounts they tend to follow.
- Track your competitor’s activity. What posts are getting more engagement, who is following them and what strategies do they use
- Be humane and sincere. Try to build an emotional connection with your followers by posting user-generated content, giving some presents to them, posting the captures of the working process, answering and chatting with them on the comments.
- Try to get some feedback. What do people enjoy about your services and what could be improved. The recent story “poll” option is a great tool o do this.
Automation is a great tool which was helping people with their concerns for hundreds of years. But it has its own limits. To specify, automats still can’t engage in human relationships, emotions, and communications well. On one hand, it is reassuring: machines will not replace us completely in the nearest future. On the other hand, it limits the potential of automated services. To conclude, use automats wisely and don’t hope they will complete all the work instead of you.