How I Use Facebook and Twitter…Differently

I’m sure this isn’t news to anybody, but I social-network. (Do you like the way I just turned that into a verb?!) I read blogs, post my own, play on Facebook & Twitter. I justify that I’m doing this because it’s good marketing for my book and a good way to keep up with what’s going on in the publishing industry, but at the root of it all is…I just have fun with it (criteria #1 for picking which, if any, social-networking form you want to step into).

One thing I like watching is how my own use of all these sites evolves and changes. Just as a for-example (look, another noun!), I still read lots of blogs, including the ones in my google reader as well as the ones I come across other places. I’m pretty sure, though, that I’m commenting less–either because I am busier, or because I tend to talk back & forth with a lot of the same people on Facebook and Twitter. Haven’t figured that one out for sure yet.

Anyway, thought I’d do a post not on reading blogs (redirection, much?), but another one about Facebook and Twitter–specifically on the different ways I use the two sites. So here you go…

1. For Facebook, I use the original Facebook site, both on my desktop and on my Blackberry. (Oh, yeah, did I mention the Blackberry–LOVE it!) For Twitter, I do not. Even though I’ve got my book up on my Twitter page, and it’s always fun to see that,  I do not like the interface there. Too…something? Maybe too much everything in one single thread and–even though the other stuff is often no more than a single click away, well, that’s a whole, entire click people. Don’t make me work. On my desktop, I use Tweetdeck, which lets me see regular tweets, tweets about & to me, and Direct Messages all at once, in separate columns. On my Blackberry, I’ve settled into Seesmic, despite the fact that its icon is a raccoon (not my happy animal). I like both of these apps a lot, but I’d dump both Tweetdeck and Seemic in a flash, if someone came along with a good, easy Twitter app that let me see threaded conversations in the same kind of display that Facebook uses.

2. I talk to different people. Well, okay, in essence, I pretty much talk to anybody & everybody who wants to listen. With Tweetdeck, I can send an update to Twitter AND Facebook at the same time.  But…I am one of the few people I know who plays and chats a lot at both sites. (I know you others are out there, jump in at the comments if you’re a tandem-FB/T-social networker & identify yourself!) So while I send my posts out into whichever world, I get responses and have conversations with some people on Facebook & some on Twitter. It’s one reason I have stayed with Twitter, even though I like the format less than Facebook–I have friends there that I want to keep talking to. I also really thing that I hear/learn more on Twitter about publishing and social media. I find my editors and agents there, although there are definitely some on Facebook, and I get links to more industry blogs and news. Oh, yeah, and I hear about it on Twitter first, when anybody famous dies. What’s THAT about?

3. I have different privacy “issues.” On Facebook, yes, I  have to keep going back to my privacy settings and changing things back to the way I really want them, not just some new way Facebook thinks I want them (Have you checked to make sure you are not now sharing your phone number with the entire planet?). Sure, this is a bit irritating and silly, but I hear about changes at the speed of light from other Facebook users, and–honestly–it feels more like a kind of slapstick version of 1984 to me than a really serious threat. I don’t put stuff out on the internet about myself that I don’t want people to know–which makes it my call, not Facebook’s, pretty much.

On Twitter, though, I have my tweets protected. I’m not sure what this means in terms of people who can/can’t see them, and I guess there’s something them showing up as “locked,” but again–I seem to be having plenty of conversations with people I like, so I’m not too worried about it. I do this, because it seems to be the only way not to get those “lovely” porn spammers following me. The only way I see this playing out is that, when you go to see my list of Followers, you do NOT think I’m sharing electronic lives with people who have nasty little “names” and profile pictures sharing WAY more than I want to look at. 

4. I write with people on Facebook; I chat with people on Twitter. On Facebook, writers will post that they’re digging into a project–either just to write, or with a specific goal in mind–and invite others to join in. We do, we “go away,” we write, and then we come back at a certain time to check in and post progress reports. Maybe there are people doing this on Twitter, too, but I haven’t come across it. It’s possible the threaded conversations on Facebook make it easier to see these writing gigs; I know they make it fun to participate. Oh,  yeah, and productive!

On Twitter, I have jumped into a few “formal” chats to get to know other writers and hear about what they’re doing. Different groups within the children’s writing gang (and probably a lot of others?) gets together on various days, at set times, uses a hashtag to let people find them, and chats on a set topic. So I’ll stop in at #pblitchat on Sunday night, or #kidlitchat and #yalitchat on other evenings. I don’t go every week, for sure, but it’s fun to catch up when I can.

5. I RT more than I Share. Tweetdeck makes it incredibly easy for me to retweet someone’s original tweet–it takes maybe 1/4 of a second. Seriously. Sharing on Facebook takes a couple of steps and a little more typing. Not a biggie, and if I really want people to know about something cool or important, I definitely click that Share link. But  I pass on more funny things, more links, more info on Twitter than I do on Facebook–simply because it is SO fast.

6. I “filter” just a little bit. There are times when I feel totally comfortable posting something on Facebook and maybe not so much on Twitter, so I’ll head over to Facebook and just status-update there, instead of via Tweetdeck. I don’t quite understand out why this is, what’s going on that makes me feel that way. Maybe because there are more people I know personally on Facebook? Maybe because there do seem to be fewer industry people on FB (cuz, you know, tbose guys are all reading my tweets with baited breath!), so I am at ease with a little more goofiness, a little less I-know-exactly-what-I’m-doing-out-here? Not sure. If you figure it out, let me know, okay?

I think those are the basics. I’d love to hear how you use either or both of these sites–leave a comment with your two cents. It’s social-networking, right? Jump into the conversation!


  1. Sounds like we social-network in the same way.

    An additional reason I do these things is that in real life I’m not a very social person. I like being home, going to bed early and not talking to people. I’m very, very, very shy. But on the web I’m able to interact with people without too much anxiety. It’s nice! 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      Yes, Michelle–I’m with you. I’m definitely getting less shy as I get older, but the introvert part of me is still pretty big. It’s definitely something I love about being able to do all this at the keyboard. 🙂


  2. P. J. Hoover says:

    Whoa, my head is hurting, but it’s not just your post! Social networking is a lot to get your mind around, but it seems what’s most important is having a plan!


    • beckylevine says:

      I don’t know–I don’t think I’ve ever had much of a plan. If I stop and think about it too much, I find myself just stopping! 🙂


  3. deenaremiel says:

    I’ve got FB pretty much understood and use it everyday like I would my telephone – checking up on old friends, making new ones, and sharing not only the presonal side of me, but the professional. I see it as building my platform, my readership. I must admit, however, Twitter stumps me beyond a simple update or redirect.


    • beckylevine says:

      Do you have a Facebook page? I haven’t gone there yet, cause I don’t use them much from the reader/audience point-of-view.

      I do follow a lot of links from Twitter–that’s probably the other thing I do most after updates/RTs.


      • deenaremiel says:

        I do, indeed, have a FB page. It’s
        I don’t have a fan page as of yet since I’m waiting on hearing back from submissions for publication. Once I hear that a novel’s been picked up, I’ll create a fan page. For now, it’s FB and my website that are drawing in the crowds. I use twitter to direct people to my site.That’s about it.


  4. Jenn Hubbard says:

    I’ve never gotten onto FB. I pop in on Twitter a couple of times a day, participate in some of the chats. I try to respond to all my @ messages. I RT stuff I like (it’s now so easy with the RT button, you just click on a Tweet you want to RT).

    The #amwriting tag serves as what you’re talking about–a place for writers to check in about what they’re working on.

    The main difference with blogs and Twitter for me–aside from the obvious one of the length/depth of the posts–is that I try to read all the entries on the blogs I follow, whereas with Twitter it’s just not possible to read every tweet by everyone. It’s more hit-or-miss. Twitter Lists are helpful to organize the people I follow.

    I also find I’m often sillier and more frivolous on Twitter, for whatever reason.


    • beckylevine says:

      The blogs on twitter catch my eye, and I do a quick decision to read/not read. I agree, I try to check in with all the blogs in my reader–although the more full it gets, the trickier that is!

      Easier to be frivolous in 140 characters? 🙂


  5. claudine says:

    Wow! How’d you pack all that info into this post and keep it so readable? You must be a WRITER! 🙂
    Very niceley said.

    I love facebook, but am left in the dust by Twitter. I’ve been on there for the fun scribechat on Thursday nights sometimes, but it’s a difficult vehicle for me.

    The part you wrote about not posting as many comments on blogs reminds me of why I have such mixed feelings about my blog (which I do aim to begin soon): I don’t have time to keep up with all the great blogs I’d like to, so why do I think others could keep up with mine.

    Also, things are changing so often, that by the time I get mine up and running, readers my be into something else entirely.



    • beckylevine says:

      Claudine, I think (JUST my opinion) that your blog has to be for you first. Yes, people WILL come read & comment, but you have to want to write some thoughts out loud, I think, use it to play with ideas and possibilities.

      I started blogging because my comments on other peoples’ blogs were getting a bit…long. But I also wasn’t sure whether anyone would come read my posts. You will get a conversation going. I’m sure of it.


      • claudine says:

        Okay, I love that, Becky, the thinking aloud part.
        It also makes me think that maybe I can let my blog evolve over time, rather than getting it firmly in my head before I begin it.


  6. Nice post on something you’ve really integrated into your life.

    I do think the nature of blogs themselves is changing though I haven’t wrapped my brain around it all yet. Part of it is because of the popularity of Twitter and FB and ease with which you can connect with so many people so quickly.

    I wondered years ago if blogs would become the websites of the future, for many writers, at least.

    For people who have difficulty managing their time, the whole social media game is a hard one. They seem to go all or nothing and then feel badly about what goes to the wayside. It’s like eating healthy, you know what you’re supposed to do (don’t overindulge) but doing it is tough.

    The blog comments are always a matter of interaction and content. Comments beget comments. But content matters too. If you’re not giving bang for your free buck, people are going to stop reading. In the beginning I read a lot of blogs for entertainment value. Now there are way too many blogs for that. I get the snippets of entertainment from FB and save the blogs for the meat.

    And yet, if I am in a downward cycle, I can’t read blogs at all. And if I don’t read blogs, I’m not commenting on blogs which means my own readership disappears and then you have to build it back up again which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t.

    Twitter is great for those quick snippets of info but again, if you don’t interact, you lose those connections, no matter how many followers you have. Each time you step off the merry-go-round you have to build the faith all over again.

    In all of social media you have to give before you get. Sometimes that’s easy enough and sometimes, when you feel like you don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said a hundred times, well, then you start to wonder if it is worth it.

    I think in the old days we used to say get some business cards. Print postcards when you book comes out. Get a website. Mail a brochure. Those things moved more slowly and gave us more time to adjust/wrap our brains around the time investment, etc. Now things move so fast it’s really tough to know how and what to keep up with.

    Sorry…just rambling thoughts as I’ve been pondering some of these things myself.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think you’re touching on a lot of how it works here–especially that building thing. If you want people to come read your blogs, you still need to connect with them somewhere else out there.

      It does move SO fast, which is part of the reason I let myself do more play than work on it all–if I’m not having fun, I’m going to bail & then I really WILL be left behind 🙂


      • It’s very hard to get back on once you’ve fallen (or jumped) off.

        For me it’s not a lack of fun but when my personal moods cycle, reading what’s going on with other people just brings me down. And since I don’t post about all my own down stuff on my own blog or FB or Twitter, I, effectively, disappear. Reappearing isn’t easy and sometimes I wonder about the effort.


  7. Lua says:

    I don’t have a facebook… I’ve been debating with myself whether if I should open a facebook account for sometime now but I guess I’ve been lazy 🙂
    I’m on twitter and I also RT more than I share!


    • beckylevine says:

      Lua, I don’t know. Part of me says that if you’re happy & having fun on Twitter, then why take on both. On the other hand, like I said, I get something different from both places… If you use Tweetdeck, it’d be easy for you to set up a Facebook page and just send the stuff over from Twitter, then it might not feel like more work? 🙂


  8. Becky,
    Lots of conversation here! Personally, I took on FB reluctantly because I didn’t want it to be another time sucker. It is, but I do have fun with it and agree that if it’s not fun, why bother. Haven’t gone the tweeing route though and don’t plan to. Between blogging and FB’ing, I don’t feel as if I have enough time to write as it is!


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