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!

Advertisements

Twitter Update: My Latest Thoughts

Okay, raise your hand if you knew, when you read this post, that I’d say this:

Twitter is growing on me. And, no, not like mold.  🙂

Honestly, it’s still not my favorite social networking place. My brain chemistry is still happier on Facebook, with the layout of the page and the way you can follow comments directly off the original update.

But I’m getting better at skimming through the tweets. I don’t feel, anymore, like like I’m only seeing stuff I’m not interested in and missing the tweets I really want to read. Just to get a little scientific here, maybe it’s one of those ways I can stretch my brain “muscles,” carve some new synaptic paths–which, you know, is always good. If painful.

And there are some interesting things going on out there at Twitter. Here’s what I’ve seen so far.

  • I mentioned that I’d heard there were more agents and editors on Twitter than on Facebook. So far, this seems to be very true. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we writers jump all over them, but it’s interesting to hear what they’re saying to us and to each other. Also, agents do send out tweets that they’re open for questions–which does give us a chance to find out some specific info we’ve been wondering about.
  • This week, Jessica Faust and Kim Lionetti of the Bookends agency are doing twitter-pitch contests. They look like a LOT of fun. And let’s face it–really good practice. You’ve got a couple more days, and you can find out the details here.
  • Mary Hershey and Robin LaFevers of Shrinking Violet Promotions are trying out Twitter for a month. They’re challenging some of us to turn the tables a bit–instead of tweeting about what we’re doing, to tweet a question to everyone else about what theymight be doing. The other day I asked people what their favorite character in their WIP was doing, and I got some great answers.
  • There’s an interesting site called TweetChat. They set up occasional “conversations” on a specific topic. I believe there’s a weekly (?) poetry chat, and I stopped by once for an interview (where a moderator and everybody else tweeted their questions) with my friend Susan Taylor Brown. It was a bit chaotic, but fun, and I’d like to try a few more.
  • Follow Friday. I’m just gathering a few names to do this one tomorrow. Every Friday, tweeters (I refuse to call us twits!) send out a few ids of people they enjoying following on Twitter. It’s a nice way to check out other people you might want to follow, and it’s one of those good Sally-Field moments, too, when you see your id in someone else’s FF.
  • Retweeting. I do like this one. If someone tweets a thought or a link that you like or find interesting/helpful, you can retweet it. (If you download Tweetdeck, which I prefer to the Twitter page, there’s a button that makes this REALLY easy.) Basically, it means that the people who are following you will get to see the tweet, check out the link, even if they’re not following the person who originally posted it. It’s a nice feature–it means I get to see some good tweets I might miss, and it gives me a chance to “introduce” people to each other.

There are still a few weird things about Twitter. I’d still LOVE to find an app that threads the conversations for me–that shows updates and all subsequent comments in the same place. If you hear of anything like that, puh-lease send me a note!

I’ve got things set up so my tweets go automatically to Facebook. I like this–saves me retyping. BUT it happens automatically with my retweets as well, which gets confusing on Facebook. I’ve passed on a few announcements of someone else’s success or good luck, only to have my Facebook fans congratulate ME!

A few weeks ago, I started getting a LOT of what I call “icky” followers. Some of them were people who have nothing to do with writing or other things I’m interested in–the Twitter equivalent of the door-to-door salesperson asking me if I want to buy a dozen eggplants. (Note: I could be a vegetarian if I only liked vegetables!) But others were definitely gross, porn-type tweeters. Okay, no, I’ll call them twits. They weren’t tweeting to me, but they were showing up on my Followers page. The Followers page is where other people can go and see who is following you, in case there’s someone they might like to add to their own list. For me, this mostly means other writers are coming to see who’s following me. And then they would get, yes…ick.

If this happens to you, there is a way around it. There’s an option on the first page of your Twitter settings called Protect My Updates. If you check this box, then you get an email telling you someone has asked to follow you. You then have the option to accept them or decline them. There is a potential downside to this that Susan Taylor Brown (a social-networking guru, as well as a wonderful writer) was telling me about. She’s going to send me a note later describing how that all works, and I’ll update the post. So stop back in for the full story! UPDATE! So I went back & forth with Susan a few times–because she’s a VERY patient teacher (check out her online social-networking class here), and I am not the most fast student on this stuff. The basic thing seems to be that, when you protect your updates, you are creating an additional step for someone to follow you–some people may not bother, which might lose you followers. Also, they can’t see your updates when they go to your profile, so they can’t get an idea of the kinds of things you’re tweeting about. Same possible result–people may decide it’s not worth the effort/chance to follow you.  I can’t tell if that’s been happening to me or not. I am still getting people asking to follow me, and I’ve only said no to a couple–really just the eggplant salespeople! But, obviously, I wouldn’t know if people were passing me by. I know I’m supposed–in terms of promotion–to be in this for the numbers, but it’s hard for me to think that way, so I’m not too worried. Susan suggests also that these “icky visits” may go in waves, so I may try unprotecting for a bit every now and then and see if it makes a difference.

Finally, I found a couple of recent posts about the actual USEFULNESS of Twitter.

As a side note, I’ve personally had a couple of experiences on Twitter AND Facebook that have proven to me these are places I need to be. They may or may not lead to anything concrete, but I’ve gotten opportunities from both that I would not have gotten without being out there.

If you’re looking for me, I’m still at http://www.facebook.com/beckylevine and http://twitter.com/becky_levine.