Facebook and Twitter are two of my favorite social media platforms. I use them both in my daily communications to connect with people in my online community. Last year, Facebook announced that it had over 500 million users, which is surely much larger in size by now. Twitter has nearly 200 million registered accounts on the site with speculation that only 10 to 15 million of these users are active tweeters. Despite activity or not, there is no denying that both of these platforms have powerful reach and that each serve a specific communications purpose. If these platforms are strategically used together, they can provide exceptional reach both for and to the LGBT community.
When it comes to sharing information, not many know how to use Facebook and Twitter strategically. For example, some choose to just use Facebook as their communications sharing tool. Others, like me, choose to have both a Twitter and a Facebook account to share information because both of these platforms attract users in different ways.
Using both of these platforms simultaneously can be difficult. To decrease the time it takes to post something on Facebook and Twitter, some users link their updates together. This means that when the user posts something on Facebook, the same post will automatically populate onto their Twitter feed as well.
In theory, this is great and serves as a definite time saver but it's not a smart way to communicate with your following. Both Facebook and Twitter have completely different ways of delivering information.
For instance, Facebook allows you to post content, add a note with 420 characters, and allows for an image to populate within the shared content on the user's Facebook wall. Twitter is simply 140 characters of text and no visual, except the profile picture that appears in a user's Twitter feed. This leaves a Twitter user with just 140 characters to deliver and engage their following with a message.
If you post something on Facebook which includes a 420-character update while linked to your Twitter, then the Twitter post will be cut off. This is why you sometimes see half-written posts flying around Twitter. It's not because people aren't finishing their sentences, it's because people have their Twitter linked to Facebook, or other status-updating platform.
To remedy any dilemmas you may have on whether you should use Facebook or Twitter to deliver your message, I thought I would provide with a few insights into how I use each platform and the types of information I share.
Instant News Source/Breaking News
Were you on Twitter during the Prop 8 hearing or the DADT repeal? If you were, then you know it was information overload of quick updates. I didn't need to be present at either to know what was going on. I just followed the conversation for each via my Twitter stream.
For instance, writers Bil Browning and Chris Geidner were excellent at sharing updates and pictures with their Twitter followers from the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) bill signing. I just plugged in hashtag #DADTDone or #DADTRIP into my Twitter account and I could easily follow along with what was unfolding at the historic bill signing. If I want to know what others are saying about Prop 8 then I just plug in hashtag #Prop8.
Twitter is an excellent tool to use when you want to expand your network both professionally and personally. I've met a number of other bloggers, organizations, and even had potential job offers via Twitter. In fact, I just recently had a drink with someone I met on Twitter who wanted to talk to me about my blog. It was great but we wouldn't have met had I not been using Twitter as a tool to grow my network.
Meeting new people via Twitter is risky, so I encourage you to use caution. You don't want to get caught in a web of spam bots or scams.
I share a ton of information on Twitter and people share a ton of information with their followers. This is one of the many joys of Twitter. This also lends itself to a lot of garbage but it also directs you to a ton of great material that you may have never come across.
Basically, Twitter serves as a limitless information feed that you can log into view at any time. You can also control the information that you get by strategically selecting who you follow and categorizing them into different feeds you follow.
This Is Me
I've read a couple articles about how Facebook brings out the narcissist in us. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; at least I don't think so. We want people to see us through a specific lens and we want to control how they view us.
Facebook allows us to be our own brand. By allowing us to choose to fill out, or not fill out, the boxes in our profile, Facebook allows us to show those around us our identities. Furthermore, we have control in the pictures we upload, tag and un-tag, allowing us to manage the way we are viewed by our peers.
It's the place where we feel comfortable sharing what we are passionate about and the causes that we believe in. For example, people in my Facebook network know I'm committed to winning equality, love the cold and that I overuse the word jazzed. The Facebook platform makes it easy and comfortable for me to share what I'm most passionate about.
The neat thing about Facebook is that it allows you to connect with people from your past (your way back past). Facebook isn't used to forge new friendships but rather to connect with people you knew before. Also, the connections that you do make on Facebook are in many ways more real than ones you would have made on Friendster or Myspace. Facebook allows you to share a tremendous amount of information about yourself and to share a ton of personal content, allowing you to get to know someone at a deep level.
Facebook was built to allow you to have all the discussions you want. You can start discussions on your wall, on your friend's wall, on your favorite band's page, on posts that you share etc. Could you imagine Facebook without Walls or commenting capabilities?! Facebook allows you to have conversations with your peers more easily than Twitter, which is why I emphasize Facebook's ability to allow you to make real connections.
I hope that my experience has provided you with some insight into how you share content on Facebook and Twitter and whether or not having a profile on both platforms is right for you. I enjoy using both of them and love that I have two ways of engaging with fans differently. If both are used strategically, then you're bound to obtain your desired results.
Like me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Join me on The Bilerico Project.