I am going to get up on my soapbox for a second.
At the risk of railing on a topic that potentially no one cares about, here goes..
It is becoming common practice for people to tie their facebook and twitter accounts together so that one update will hit both services simultaneously. I think this is a bad strategy for a few reasons.
1- Not everyone on facebook uses, or understands, twitter. The constant flow of updates makes facebook feel very spammy and creates confusion for those who do not use twitter. They are two VERY different ecosystems that even use their own language. facebook updates and posts have no limit to their length or what media you can use, whereas twitter updates are confined to 140 characters and use a language for communicating that employs all kinds of abbreviations, codes and shorthand. facebook updates tend to be much less frequent, and can be richer in nature with the ability to add multiple photos, video, links, etc.
2- In my case, and I am quite sure I am not alone in this, the people in my twitterverse are not the same as those in facebookland. For that reason alone, it is disrespectful to treat them both the same. Additionally, there are probably things you might tweet about that you might not want, or your friends might not want, on facebook.
3- Social media/social networking adoption is growing at a breakneck pace. Yet one of the core values that define them are transparency and authenticity. The minute you start automating processes, you are a robot who is sending out spam and not honestly participating in a conversation. Scalability and time management are all valid rationalizations for automation. But they are also the fast lane to irrelevance for you and your message. Ari Adler had a terrific post about this very topic recently. This quote stuck out for me: “The
idea of automating to save time and update all your status boxes at
once may seem appealing, but it’s really akin to just walking into
every meeting and social gathering with a bullhorn, shouting out
whatever is on your mind and not caring if the people in the room will
get it or even care.”
Take this example offline for a second into the “real” world. You and I are talking about the chances for success of a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East, and out of left field you start telling me about this awesome blog post you just read about the new Star Trek movie. It’s supposed to be a conversation- are you even LISTENING to me?
Online communications, done right, serve to facilitate offline ones. You are putting yourself out there with EVERY POST YOU MAKE NO MATTER WHERE YOU MAKE IT. People make all kinds of decisions, assumptions and judgements about you, consciously or unconsciously. Make sure that they’re thinking that:
A- This person/company/entity adds value to the conversation.
B- This person/company/entity respects what I think and does not treat me like a number.
C- This person/company/entity cares about my needs and can help solve my problems, whether that problem is finding a good place to eat, choosing a PR firm or getting a good deal on a flight to the Middle East.
There is a perception that social media is easy, free and does not require much thought. My goal is to disabuse you, dear reader, of all three of those assumptions.
I will get down off my soapbox now, but I want to know if you agree or disagree. Please leave a comment.