Facebook and Twitter

Well, I’ve been tweeting for a few weeks now, and on Facebook longer than that, and I thought I’d take a few minutes and do a comparison here–at least from my perspective.

Overall, I’d say I like Facebook better. I am TOTALLY open to persuasion from Twitter-folk, (like this post from WriterMomof5) as to why I am wrong and what I’ve missed about Twitter.

Here are the pros and cons as I see them.

Twitter

Pros

  • Twitter seems to have more people. I could be wrong about this, but it seems really popular right now.
  • It’s very easy to “follow” people on Twitter–there is no approval issue, and they don’t have to follow you back. In fact, Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents has this post, talking about how agents may prefer Twitter for just that reason.
  • I seem to be running into more info/links about the publishing industry on Twitter than I do on Facebook. This may be coincidental, somehow connected to who I’m following, but maybe not.

Cons

  • I don’t really like the layout of Twitter. Everything shows up in one place, and I can’t easily see how one tweet follows another. I downloaded Tweetdeck, which makes it a bit better, but not completely user-friendly. Or maybe just not Becky-friendly.
  • It seems like people do more tweeting on Twitter than they do updates on Facebook. And it’s not easy for me to sort out the tweets with substance from those without. Now, I’m not complaining about the substance-less tweets; I do my own share of those and many I find fun. But I like to be able to do a quick scan and mental sort as I read.
  • People cheat. Okay, pet peeve here. But all the squawk (pardon my pun) is about the 140-character limit. As a writer, editor, and word-player I kind of like that challenge. I’m not so pleased with the people who just go ahead and spread their news over 3 or 4 tweets. Yes, I’m being petty. Or anal. Take your pick–just do it in less than 140 characters!

Facebook

Pros

  • This is completely emotional, not factual, but it feels cozier. This  may be my group of “friends,”  but maybe it’s a factor of it NOT being so easy to hook up with people. Of course, I’ve friended people that I don’t really know, and vice versa, but there’s always some reason–I can see from their other friends what genre they probably write in, or I know them through an offline friend…something like that.
  • All the replies to a status update (the equivalent of a tweet) are kept with the update. One of my in-town friends and I were just talking about this, that you can get a real mini conversation going and follow it easily, seeing everyone’s comments one after the other. It seems more fun this way.
  • Different posts and announcements look different. They’ve got little icons, etc, to differentiate–say–an update from an event. This helps with my skimming.

Cons

  • The quizzes. Facebook seems to have gone crazy with this lately. I went a little crazy with them myself, when they first showed up, and I have fun checking one out every now and then. (Did you know the female historical figure I’m the most like is Elizabeth I?!) There are just too many of them, though, and they can pretty much take over the page at any given time.
  • The gifts. It’s really sweet when someone sends me a virtual cupcake. This, too, can go quickly into overload, though, with people sending around pretend flowers or green things. Yes, I can turn mine “off,” but Facebook shows you all the things that all your friends are sending around. Again, this takes up a lot of page space.
  • This last one is just from the new Facebook. They’ve moved the birthday announcements to the bottom of the page. They used to be at the top. My guess is that they do this so you have to page down and look at the ads. (Don’t worry–I’ve tricked them. I DON’T LOOK!)

I’m wondering now, looking back at the post, if I’m whining. If you’re all thinking–then why is she out there? Well (she says with a bit of an embarrassed wince), it’s fun. Oh, yes, there’s the whole marketing thing and promotion whatchamacallit, but those are extra. I do love being connected with other writers & seeing what they’re up to (even if it IS just getting a third cup of coffee for the day).

It’s just that, you know, I want all the social networking sites to do it my way!

What about you? Are you on FB or Twitter? What’s your preference? Usually, I try and keep things mannerly here, but today is your chance to argue–convince me what I’m missing on Twitter. 🙂

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32 thoughts on “Facebook and Twitter

  1. Hey Becky,
    Well you know I’m on twitter and FB because were friends on both. I think each one has its place and usefulness. However, I definitely lean towards twitter. You can follow agents, authors, and publishers there. They may not follow you back but you can follow their conversations and announcements. Twitter is much more immediate.

    I think Twitter=having a conversation and FB=putting a notice up on a bulletin board.

    Thanks for this discussion!

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      I think you’re right–I should probably follow more agents and editors than I’m doing on Twitter. (I have to keep reminding myself that “following” does not equal “stalking!”)

      So funny, though, with the conversation/notice thing–it feels the opposite to me. Am I just missing something about how to see all the threads of a post together at Twitter? On Tweetdeck?

      I always feel (in a good way) that you’re a little ahead of me in the whole Social Networking thing, so maybe I just need more time out there!

      Like

      • Becky,
        I would totally advise you to let go of the feeling that you are stalking anyone on twitter. If people are on twitter they want to be there and they know people will follow them. Twitter users have the option of protecting their updates so that people can’t see them and pre-approving anyone who wants to follow them. So, if they were concerned about someone stalking them, that’s what they’d do.

        In tweetdeck do you have any groups set up? I made one called writers so that I can see what all my writer friends are saying in one place. Also, if you look at your replies column it’s easy to see when someone says something to you and reply back to them.

        I hope this helps!

        Like

        • beckylevine says:

          Mary-Frances–I totally agree with you about Twitter & not stalking. This discussion has helped clarify that for me! I’m already following a few more people I hadn’t thought of before. 🙂 I do have the columns–I just (for now) like the way FB keeps things together.

          Like

  2. Shawna says:

    Aha! A chance to give my opinion, like I need one. : ) I scoffed at twitter when it was first suggested to me, but then I scoffed at blogging and I’m now addicted and have met some really cool people through blogs, such as this one. ; )

    For me, Twitter is easier. I feel… freer to say pretty much anything, in 140 char or less. I’ve met or touched bases with many people in the publishing industry. On twitter I can ‘converse’ with agents, publishers and editors. I about panicked when I realized the person with whom I was exchanging cooking info was an agent I plan to query in 4 months. *Gulp* Yes, I did go back to make sure there weren’t any grammatical errors but then I am anal. ; )

    My biggest gripe about Facebook is I don’t know how to use it. I don’t know how to find anyone. And I’m about sick to death of quizzes, which is all I ever do on there.

    So I think it’s how you use teh site. I won’t try to convince you otherwise, Becky. But I will try to find you on Facebook. ; )

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      I think Facebook can be harder at first–I think you’re right there. That’s probably another con. It does take a while to sort of get it down to the bones–the part that you actually (if you want) use. And you don’t have to find me on FB if you don’t want–cause I’m staying on Twitter.

      I have trouble finding people on Twitter sometimes. I type in what they tell me their name is and nothing comes up. You just type in their “name” with an @ in front, yes?

      Like

      • As far as I know, yes, but I’m not the most adept at Social networking either. By the way, my sister swears my Facebook, she’s always checking it from her phone.

        Like

  3. Nathalie says:

    Hi Becky,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like FB for its privacy options and the fact that you screen who sees what on your profile, and because if someone googles your name, your FB page -with friends, pictures and other information pertinent to your every day life- will not show up.

    FB’s purpose was initially for friends to keep in touch, share tidbits of life despite the distance. Twitter seems to have had a professional purpose from the beginning. I am not on twitter yet, but I am considering solely to be up to date with what is going on in the industry, and to read the latest about my favorite writers.

    One thing that made me uncomfortable with Twitter from the beginning is its stalking aspect, no matter how legit they make it look.

    Basically twitter is going to turn me into a stalker. And I’m still struggling with that thought. 🙂

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      Nathalie, thanks for stopping by. I know that stalker feeling you’re talking about–but what I’m starting to sense is that the people we’re following don’t worry about it too much. And I’ve had a couple of times where I’ve “followed” someone in return, then unfollowed them, without it being any kind of problem–so I guess people could easily do that to me, too, if they wanted!

      Like

      • Nathalie says:

        Hi Becky,

        thank you for your reply. I actually agree with you. I think that, in my case, I am just having trouble catching up with this century. Twitter introduced a concept I am not used to yet, and I feel it is like a 180 degree turn, because our society values privacy. That much openness caught me off guard.

        I really want to read more from editors, agents and fellow writers, so I kind of have the strong feeling that I will be joining and “following” people on twitter soon as well. 🙂

        Like

        • Sandra DeBrandt says:

          Thanks girls, I was afraid that I was the last person on earth that was a non tweeter!
          I’m from the generation where computers were the size of a house, TV had 3 channels, and tweet and tweeter was something the birds did.
          For a middle age woman, born in the “almost” dark age, FB and Twitter can be very intimidating. I have this funny feeling that as soon as I get comfortable with tweeting there will be some other application that will become the “thing” to follow.

          Like

  4. I’m on both and definitely prefer Facebook. I’ve found hundreds of friends by looking at other friends’ friend lists and have reconnected with some people I hadn’t heard from in years. However I understand Twitter is more helpful for getting the word out about books, especially to the younger generation and many professionals.

    Like

  5. How does anyone who’s working on a novel, a couple of poems, and has shortstories waiting in the wings have time for FB or Tweet (also You-tube, too, for me); to stalk somebody (all be it for innocent purposes)? Plus, gotta learn all the peculuarities of SN (Social Networks). Oh, yeah, I edit four other writers in my Critique Group & volunteer in CWC.

    I’m too slow a reader to even find hair color and other early stuff in my own novel when rewriting. I can’t keep up with 20 other peoples’ lives. Not sure I get the appeal. I can barely get to posting on my own site once a month. (I’m fond of my afternoon nap, too.)

    But getting shoulder-to-shoulder with agents & editors is definitely needed (in my dreams, anyway). I do a little FB (my daughter’s thing). I’m a bit of a hermit: that likely helps my writing. But, maybe, now I better take El Plunj-o into Tweet-land. I’m going to Gold Rush Conference in Moke Hill, May 1 – 3, to sharpen my tools & show off a poem or two.

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      It’s definitely all a juggling act. I’m trying to find a way to CONTAIN the time I spend on the SN sites–into discreet chunks of time. And, like I said, it is fun for me, which is most of the appeal–and the problem! 🙂

      Like

  6. Did you know that you can get your Tweets to feed into your Facebook wall? There’s an app on FB (down at the bottom left of your screen among those icons) AND the new TweetDeck (if you have it, you’ve been asked to update) that gives you the option of sending a Tweet to Facebook.

    I like each for different reasons. The gifts and invites on FB drive me bonkers. I prefer my TweetDeck which has buttons instead of having to type out the RTs, @s and DMs.I’ve found old friends on Facebook but have access to people that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet on Facebook.

    One advantage of Tweeter is this — if you Tweet something and another person likes it enough to Retweet it, YOUR message goes out to all of THEIR people.

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      Rhondal, I do send my Tweets to FB (and here to this site), and that’s one of the things I like about it. I also agree–there seem to be more people out and about on Twitter, which may open up more, or at least different, contacts.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  7. Hi Becky,
    Interesting post, I’ve been on facebook about a year now and love it for connecting with friends, especially as they’ve scattered the globe and most are in England, so it’s easy to keep in touch with family etc. too. I ignore the 25 questions etc.

    I started twitter last year too then forgot about it, then recently picked it up again and started following people. I find it really hard without a cell phone that I can tweet from. I do like the Tweet Deck but kind of feel somehow I’m missing the whole point of it!

    Mmm maybe once I’ve got a book deal I’ll feel differently.

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      Keely–yes, Twitter feels much more “mobile” to me, and I don’t have that kind of cellphone either. I’m going to keep playing through & try to figure it all out!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

    • beckylevine says:

      Vote counted! Yes, I don’t know, if I’d had more of a sense of Twitter before I started, if I’d be going there. But I haven’t found a way to figure these places out without dipping in. And it does have it’s own fun. 🙂

      Like

  8. Rachel says:

    Hi Becky,

    I agree with your pros and cons for the most part. I wanted to add that Twitter has me a bit more confused than FB. The confusing part is wording my tweets to get more followers. I’m new at it (only a few weeks) and I’ve read that to get followers, it’s better to tweet a lot and word it properly. However, that takes more time commitment than I want to give it right now. Any suggestions? They’d be greatly appreciated!

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      Rachel–

      So I’m curious about this bit about how to get followers. I guess if we have really good info–maybe that’s what all the publishing links are about? But tweeting a lot of cheerful chit-chat, I don’t know. A few of those a day, I like–LOTS, maybe not so much? 🙂

      Like

  9. Shawna says:

    I hadn’t thought about the stalker issue…

    As writers we spend so much time researching how agents/editors want us to approach them, it’s nice to just see them as people. On Twitter, you can follow someone and they can ignore you if they like. I think FB, where you have to accept friendship, would imply a closer relationship. I don’t know. I think on either site, it’s better to be yourself. Followers will come. There are days I post 30 tweets and other days where I post 2. I like following fewer people so I can keep up.

    Like

  10. beckylevine says:

    I do like the idea that people CAN ignore me if they want. I’m trying to narrow things down a bit and see how that helps!

    Like

  11. I am having trouble seeing the usefulness of Twitter–I’ve mainly gone to it for the links and the updates from agents. Colleen Lindsey’s new ideas about #Queryday seem really awesome, though…so I think it holds potential for being great. “Live blogging” something seems to work much better on Twitter.

    And you are SO RIGHT about the annoyances of Facebook. My biggest pet peeve right now is that one of my “friends” is constantly doing the “Five Things” quiz–where you label your five favorite foods, five favorite flowers, etc. I’ve even done one. But I think I know her five favorite things about EVERYTHING EVAR and it is driving me mad!!! Her most recent one: Five Favorite Cinnamon Flavored Candy. GEEZ! We don’t need that level of detail!

    (Can you tell that bothers me?) 🙂

    Like

    • beckylevine says:

      (I hadn’t noticed!!) 🙂

      Yeah, the quizzes are kind of out of control.

      I’m trying to play with what to do with Twitter–for a while I’m going to focus on it more as an industry tool/resource than a social thing & keep being social on Facebook. See how that goes!

      Like

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