Facebook versus Twitter and Why They Should Remain Separate


Facebook versus Twitter

As a designer, I am constantly networking with peers worldwide using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter . As both services grow, develop and increase in popularity, they begin to take on a similar shape to one another. We can share links, photos and other information to our online friends using applications dedicated to one or both of these services.

So, why use both? As Facebook and Twitter battle it out, users are left in the middle to deal with the overlap, the mess and the frustration of constantly seeing double.

I use Facebook to……

be quite a bit more personal with my network than on Twitter. Facebook’s main purpose is largely to allow you to share pictures and videos with your friends, family, peers and collegues. Of course there are hundreds of other functions on Facebook that allow you to connect with your network, but most of it is all geared towards the ability to get to know others and allow others to get to know you by supplying information about your life.

Here is where it gets cloudy. I have both "in-person" friends and "online" friends on Facebook. The majority of my "in-person" friends don’t care that I found a great site with a list of high res textures . They are not designers nor do they have any interest in graphic, web or logo design . My "online" friends do however. Just like I have an interest in the links and information that they share with me.

Due to this combination of having my friends and my online network both on Facebook, I have made a decision that it is best to make the majority of my information sharing on Facebook more personal than career/design/seo/marketing oriented.

I use Twitter to……

mainly share links, career experiences, and random thoughts with my nework. I currently follow around 500 people on Twitter, with a large majority of them in the graphic design, internet marketing or web design industry. In contrast to the thoughts of the general public, Twitter is far from simply being a website where you tell people "what you are doing". The major media channels have been pretty poor in their half-assed attempts to educate their viewers about Twitter, and it’s potential as a social media tool.

Ryan Seacrest on E! News said that they are now on Twitter but he has no idea what it is supposed to do, Kiera on CNN said something similar, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show claimed to have no idea why anyone would use Twitter….and the list goes on. Many "non-web" people are signing up to Twitter now that it has gained mass exposure, yet most have no idea why they signed up and what they are going to use it for. "I don’t get it" seems to be a popular first tweet.

Here is an excerpt from a monthly feature that I write for a local Chamber of Commerce newsletter, discussing my thoughts on Twitter:

"Twitter is a social media application that allows you to connect with people online. There is a misleading trend in the news media right now describing Twitter as something to simply tell people "what you are doing" at the moment you post an update. Twitter, if utilized to its full potential, can be the most powerful tool to help you advance in your career, or to make your company more successful. By setting up a Twitter account, you can instantly start to connect with other people by "following" them, which means you will receive their updates in your timeline. Likewise, people can "follow" you and your updates to see what you are talking about. This ability to instantly connect with hundreds and thousands of people around the world is what makes Twitter so special. If you are in the real estate industry, you can find other real estate agents around the world to connect with, share links/stories/experiences/advice with, and receive it all back. For us at Brian Joseph Studios, we use Twitter to connect with thousands of designers and developers from many countries, and we share links and advice with our network, and receive the same in return. The community that you can build within your Twitter network is invaluable and the daily industry knowledge you will receive is unmatched on any other social media site, newspaper or magazine. To put it simply, Twitter can connect you with thousands of experts in your industry, and most of them are more than willing to share their experience and knowledge with you. If they find a good link on a website, or an important news story, they will post it to their Twitter account, and you will receive it if you follow them. It is so much more than telling someone what you are doing."

The Result

Most of us that are active on Twitter and Facebook will have noticed an increasingly evident overlap between the two, and I am of the opinion that this is not a good thing. I follow many other designers on Twitter to see the links they have to share, the pieces of advice they have to share, and their general thoughts on their career and experiences. I am also Facebook friends with many of them so that I can get to know them a little more personally and share some personal aspects of my life with them. In other terms, Twitter is for business (mostly) and Facebook is for pleasure (mostly).

Many of us use "Tweetdeck" as a desktop app to update our Twitter timeline, and with its recent Facebook addon, Teetdeck users can now update their Facebook status at the same time that they send out a tweet. As result, I am receiving your post twice. I follow you on Twitter and I thank you for your tweet, but is it really necessary to post it to your Facebook account also? Don’t you think that a huge majority of people that want to receive your updates already follow you on Twitter for this purpose? With a little research, one popular designer that I follow on Twitter has about 10,000 followers. He has about 1,500 Facebook friends. I wonder how many of those 1,500 Facebook friends don’t follow him on Twitter? And if they don’t follow him on Twitter do they really want to know about the logo of the day everyday? (p.s. I think Jacob Cass is an awesome guy, just using him as an example!)

And I would like to finish with one final question: If I sent you an email today telling you about a new website my company launched, and then another email within 5 minutes with the exact same information, would you find that useful?

The crossover between Facebook and Twitter, in my opinion, is causing one of them to start feeling "spammy". I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the information you provide on Twitter, and I want to get to know you more personally on Facebook. How can we get back to that?

I have seen many of my Facebook friends recently post status updates along the lines of "Please stop posting your Twitter updates on Facebook. I follow you on Twitter for this purpose." etc etc.

I would love to hear the thoughts of all of you, whether you post the same information on both Twitter and Facebook, or you like to keep them separate. I personally have posted the same information on both but this is rare. I typically only post my Twitter updates on Facebook if I they are somewhat more personal than a standard design related link.

What are your thoughts on how the design community should move forward with Facebook and Twitter as they gain incredible popularity?

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