Saturday, May 15, 2010

Random Babblings About Twitter and Facebook

Thanks to Twitter, I've been eavesdropping on a rather interesting exchange tonight involving the possible futures of Facebook and Twitter.

It has been posited that Twitter's users, or Twitter itself, could be absorbed, Borg-like, into Facebook as -- granted I'm only speculating here -- Facebook brings in more flexibility than does the 140-character micro blogging site.

I do, however, wonder if the difference in audience and purpose might keep Twitter and Facebook decidedly seperate, at least for the bulk of each service's users. I'll explain what I mean by that, and offer the caveat that it may simply apply to how I use each service and may not necessarily apply to everyone else. Or anyone else, for that matter.

So, who is my audience on Facebook? I can more sincerely say that on Facebook, it's friends, and I include family in that category. Now, it may simply be because I have many more physical, I've-met-them-before friends who use Facebook than use Twitter, so, It Stands to Reason, if I may invoke that storied and most respected college of common sense and knowledge, that Facebook is going to naturally be the place I go to share stuff with friends and family.

So who, then is my audience on Twitter? I do have a few friends. There. A few I actually will see on a week-by-week, or month-by-month basis. But most of my "followers" there are people I have never met and likely will never meet. Many of them seem to be practitioners of that sacred rite of multi-level-marketing, but that's probably my fault because I will typically follow back anyone who follows me, unless they are a Twitter Bimbo or introduce swearing or other questionable material to my Twitter feed. But I have many more contacts on Twitter than I do on Facebook, but it's less likely that I'll ever meet or interact with the Twitter folks than the Facebook folks.

So what purpose do each of these sites serve? Well, aside from begging my bishop's blood pressure up because I use them -- and I'm not sure he knows about the five blogs for which I"m a contributor or the sole author -- there are distinct uses.

Some uses intersect. I use both Facebook and Twitter to promote my blog posts and Uncharted, a travel and adventure website I'm involved in. I use both services for the occasional bout of nonsense. But that seems to be where the common uses cease.

Ends are where I see the most difference. On Twitter, promotion is an end, but it's rather one-sided and shallow, because I have no real measure on who is reading and, more importantly, who is clicking on the links I send out to be read. A lot of Twitter metrics sites point to retweets as a good measure to gauge how effective your tweets are. If that is the case, then the nonsense I tweet is received with much more enthusiasm than is the stuff I hope to promote.

The opposite is true on Facebook. While the nonsense does receive some attention, I can tell by Google Analytics that I have many more visits coming to my blogs from Facebook than I do Twitter -- so the promotions I'm doing on Facebook are more effective? Why? Because most of these people know me, see me occasionally, or at least remember me as one of the fat geeks who roamed the halls of Bonneville High School, looking pitiful. So there's a lot more human contact on Facebook than on Twitter.

And that just may be how I'm using the sites, once again biased because I have fewer actual physical friends on Twitter than I do on Facebook. I can see the dynamic being much different if my circle of friends on both sites were similar. As it is, my Twitter followers are probably a more diverse group of people from more areas in the nation and world, but it's my Facebook friends with whom I have more meaningful interactions. (Sad reality is that I'm so durn shy that I interact better with people I know on Facebook than I do face-to-face, but it's interesting that because of the stuff I put on Facebook those face-to-face interactions are becoming easier because we can chuckle about the things we "say" on Facebook.)

Note I don't speak much about my blogs here. While I'm pleased with the traffic coming to my blogs from Twitter or Facebook, I'm loath to shut down the blogs and just use Facebook for the postings and both Facebook and Twitter for the promotions. I like that I can control the look and feel of my blogs, which adds to the overall 'oss 'oldin' hexperience.

So overall, I see room for both Twiter and Facebook in my Internet experience at the moment. And my blogs. Sorry, bishop. At least I don't do Farmville . . .

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