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Facebook (GovLoop, too) is for Everyone; Twitter is Not

from www.adrielhampton.com

After using Facebook and Twitter at high volume for a few months, I’m ready to say it: one has universal appeal, the other most decidedly does not. I like both, but I have to take a strong position against folks who think everyone should be on Twitter. Everyone should not be on Twitter. In fact, a lot of the people who are there might be better off if they were not.

Take #TCOT for example. The “Top Conservatives on Twitter” meme has exploded on the site, but its value is highly debatable. In some ways, the “hash-tagged” chats on Twitter are like the free-for-all chat rooms from the genesis of AOL, fun, but hardly useful. And Twitter even has the same built-in product killer as AOL, a high rate of anonymous handles that lead to low-brow behavior.

Twitter is great for building communities of interest. It’s great for mingling with like-minded people and for pushing your content. There’s lots to like. But, it’s not for everyone. It’s culture is a two-way communication channel, so it’s not a good tool for someone who only wants to push content. Don’t you hate it when you are trying to skip over a TV commercial to another channel (OK, didn’t you hate it before TiVo) but all the channels have commercials breaks running? That’s what it’s like when a newspaper, writer, or politician is simply using Twitter to tell you about what they’ve just published elsewhere. Twitter is about adding value, and for those who don’t have the time or energy to do that, Twitter is not the right tool.

Should every business be on Twitter? Should the papers and politicians be on Twitter? I guess that question is a bit easier, because anybody with something to sell can likely find at least a portion of its customers on Twitter. But that question of customers has to be asked; and businesses and politicians must do Twitter. It’s its own animal.

So why do I think Facebook is for everyone? Simple. It’s got more. It’s geared toward real people, it’s got a robust developer community, and it appeals to all kinds of users. It works for well for many types of users, all in the mix together. Simply, Twitter is a conversation, Facebook is a community.

More later. Your thoughts below.

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Profile Photo Ms United States *Graziella Baratta*

Good point there Adriel. I’ll have to agree that if you do not have the time or patience to tweet, it’s not worth promoting a brand on Twitter. Twitter is great (I have 3 usernames: MsUnitedStates, GraziellaB and TotalBeautyTips), but it IS a two- way communication hub, so conversations are A MUST to survive and thrive on Twitter. I also am one to disagree that if you’re into social media that you must be on every single platform/community out there. If you cannot control that time, and make good use of it, there is no sense in spreading yourself too thin. I say stick to a few networks and make the most of them. I’m at the point where I’ve stopped accepting network invitations…I’ve got a myspace, facebook, I created 4 ning networks, 3 Twitter accounts, a Linkedin profile, and I’m on about 7 other ning networks including govloop…it’s time for me to STOP, lol.

Profile Photo Paulette Neal-Allen

Ed, that’s exactly why I quit using Twitter. The community feel of Facebook makes me feel like there are people who might possibly care that “Paulette is watching her kitten play with one of her hair ties”… or at least, the format makes it so that I figure people can easily ignore it if they don’t care. My friends’ pages come up whether they read my pointless little status update or not. But a whole “tweet” about my cat? He’s cute, but you probably don’t really care THAT much.

Profile Photo GeekChick

Good post, Adriel! As I’ve said before, I am a total geezer when it comes to social networking. For me, that term applies to the good ol’ days when we talked at the local pub. But, from the comments here, I think it’s just as well. I just don’t have the time! It’s all I can do to deal w/ GovLoop, and even then I’m not online as much as I’d like.

Even w/out having been to Facebook, I think I agree w/ Ed — getting constant updates on the minutia of peoples’ lives is a little creepy. Frankly, it seems that an awful lot of people use these networks as a way to feel famous or important. Like Paulette said, do we really wanna read about her cat? But that’s the kind of stuff people post. I just don’t get. (I think I sprouted a few more grey hairs just writing this post)

Profile Photo Emi Whittle

Nice review. I tried, but my twitter wouldn’t tweet anyway… its nice to have LinkedIn separate from Facebook – then I feel like my professional life can be LinkedIn and my more personal life (with public awareness) can be on Facebook….

Profile Photo Bryan Nehl

Different networks for different things. FB for friends and family, LinkedIn for professional stuff, GovLoop…well you know! Twitter kind of has an open space feel to it. Everyone talking in the same room and you can drop in when you choose too. I typically use OutTwit for keeping up/going through tweets when I want. I don’t use the steady onslaught/attention interrupter type twitter tools. Device updates are reserved for family and local people.

I’ve set up twitter updates to go to FB and FB responses to go to my gmail account. So, I actually spend less time on FB. Like others, I dislike FB spam generators aka applications.

I’ll agree with Graziella in that you don’t have to belong to every network — think about and carefully choose your networks. If you spend all your time on your networks you won’t have enough time to FOCUS and CREATE in your area of expertise.