To connect or not to connect? That is the question…

With tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite, it’s easier than ever to post to multiple accounts at a time. In theory, posting the same thing to Twitter and Facebook at the same time sounds perfect…it saves you time, and you’ve instantly doubled your message penetration. But, cross-posting also has many drawbacks that PR pros should make note of…

- Facebook and Twitter are NOT the same type of platform and therefore should not be treated as such. Blogger Joshua Porter shows how Twitter is an asymmetrical model, while Facebook uses more of a symmetric model. Mashable points out that Facebook is the quintessential poster child of a “social network,” while Twitter is more of an “information network.” I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who uses Facebook the same way they use Twitter. Personally, I use Twitter in more of a “professional” way, connecting with news organizations and bloggers. I save Facebook for more interpersonal interactions with individuals that I have a relationship with in real life. (Lauren Gray reflects these sentiments in her post, “Breaking up with Facebook.”) So, if this is the case, why are PR pros using one update for both platforms?

Photo courtesy of insidefacebook.com

- The hashtag phenomenon: A clear sign that you’re not tailoring your content to your medium: when the infamous #hashtag shows up on your Facebook news feed. As a Facebook user, don’t you feel a bit cheated? I know I do. To me, a ‘#’ or ‘@’ symbol mean the person has simply taken the lazy way out — they came up with 140-character or less content and put it on both platform. Sounds like old-school mass communication techniques to me. In today’s world, would you really dare to send a general press release to every news outlet without tailoring it (at least a little bit) to appeal to the person you’re sending it to? Hopefully not. Standardization doesn’t work on social networks.

- Social networks are…well, social. They’re about connecting, engaging, sharing, community building. They’re not about one-way communication. How can you expect to connect, engage, and share with your social network friends/followers if you aren’t personalizing your message to them at all?

In the words of Socialbrite staffer Kim Bale, “be efficient, but be smart” when you decide to cross-post material. Consider disconnecting these two platforms, and being more selective about what you cross-post. No one wants to see your Twitter chat participation clog up their Facebook feed!

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About Abby Ecker

PR pro and healthy living blogger in the First State
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6 Responses to To connect or not to connect? That is the question…

  1. Michael N says:

    excellent post, I definitely agree that non-tech-savvy PR/HR people completely miss the fact that twitter and facebook are for separate content and different audiences ^_^

  2. Abby Stollar says:

    Thanks, Michael! I completely agree.

  3. eatnew says:

    This is a great post and a very important concept for anyone using both platforms, but especially those using it for PR. On Twitter, you are expected and allowed to post as much content as you’d like – because, like you said, it is an information networking. Facebook, however, is more personal and no one likes their news feeds to be clogged by the same few people.

    My bottom-line: I think that having whatever you post on Facebook show up on your Twitter stream is A-OK. But as for everything you tweet showing up on your Facebook – NO WAY! :)

    • Abby Stollar says:

      Thanks, Brittany. I think your “bottom-line” is spot-on! You make an excellent argument for why pushing FB posts onto Twitter is much more acceptable than pushing all your tweets onto FB.

  4. Alex Albanese says:

    Abby – great article.

    As far as twitter being an information network, not a social network, I disagree with this claim. At first, twitter provided an information network for my first few months. I followed CNN, White House, the New Yorker, so they filled up my timeline. As time passed and I started tweeting, more of my personal friends followed me and vice versa. Instead of news corporations’ tweets filling my timeline, friend’s tweets were. Now that I’m a veteran tweeter, I think it has become more of a social network.

    Hope your summer’s going well : )

    • Abby Stollar says:

      Thanks, Alex! I can agree with your counter-argument. Personally, I still use Twitter as more of an information stream than a personal social network, but I agree that it can become more of a social network as more of your friends join Twitter. I think it’s still important for PR pros to understand the difference between these two platforms and think twice before pushing all content from one to the other.

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