My old buddy Nate Lanxon recently wrote a post for his Wired blog about posting multiple comments to various social networks.In this article, he references a person called “Ian” who he says “shared his considerable dissatisfaction” on the subject of posting the same content to potentially three different networks at the same time. I’ll give you three guesses who “Ian” was, but you’re only going to need one.At the time, I meant to write a post of my own, explaining why I think its important that these sites are treated separately, but I didn’t have time. Now, I note, that Facebook and Twitter are working together to make sharing content in this way easier. So I think it IS time for me to write what I think.
The fact is, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are very different sites. And I believe that posting the same content to both is both pointless, and annoying. Of course, you might not agree with me, and that is, of course, your right.
Here is how I think the networks should be treated:
Twitter is a broadcast network. It’s a network aimed at people who want to broadcast their thoughts. While it’s possible for people to interact with one another, this is not the primary way it is used. It’s harder to follow conversations on Twitter, so it isn’t at all well suited for back and forth between users. Twitter is also popular with journalists, media types and celebrities and that can only be because it’s for broadcasting, not discussion.
Facebook on the other hand is a service aimed at connecting friends with one another. I know not everyone uses it like this, but really it’s really not designed for broadcasting content. That said, people can broadcast to their friends, but it’s not publicly available on the whole, unless you’re using a “page” rather than a personal account. Facebook, on the other hand, is great for interacting with your circle of friends and acquaintances. It usually has far more personal information that you’d share on Twitter, and most people don’t hide behind an alias.
Google+ seems to me mainly aimed at longer-form broadcast content. Because it’s searchable, and allows posting in a way that non-members can easily find and see, it’s ideal for using as a micro-blogging platform. Twitter used to be called micro-blogging, but it’s really not. Google+, however, is. And it’s actually quite good for it. Generally people using Google have sensible, reasonable discussions and in my experience, it’s a far more mature service than either of the others, despite its immaturity as a product.
LinkedIn is a service I signed up to because I was told it was important. I’ve yet to work out any aspect of it. But I try to use it like a CV. This is the only place that you’ll see my Twitter feed duplicated, and that is only because I think it’s appropriate because I use @IanMorris78 mostly for work.
So there you have it. Four different services that deserve four different approaches. Twitter is the social platform I use the most. I like it because my ego needs massaging constantly (see all other journalists, media people and celebrities for proof of this) and it makes me feel like people care what I think. Much like this blog, but much shorter.
I think Twitter is ideal for sharing content you’ve posted in different places. If I put something on Google+, then I might post a link to Twitter. Blog posts always go out via Twitter too. This is, I feel, okay because it’s a small part of my overall Twitter usage, and I hope that the things I post are of value to people. I don’t post everything via the service, although I do have some automated feeds that it Tweets. Even so, linking to stuff is about 10% at most of what I do. The other 90% is original content (by me, or sometimes someone I chose to retweet).
Google+ is harder, because it’s lovely for long posts, but if I was writing in some detail, I’d probably do it on this blog. Of course, Google+ gets more comments on the whole, so it’s a more reliable way to get feedback on your ideas. Perhaps Google+ would be a good place to bounce ideas around, before writing something longer.
Facebook I barely check. I hate it. The mobile apps for it are dreadful, it’s a privacy disaster and it’s full of idiot surveys about what your favourite dog is, or what the best X Factor moron is. I do use it to see what friends are up to, and I do post on their posts when they interest me, but it’s useful only for an awareness of what my friends are up to.
So there. That’s a bit about why I don’t believe in cross-posting. It’s a bit of a mess, truth be told, but at least I’m only posting it in one place. Although I will promote it on Twitter. Sorry.