Social media updates are converging. Now you can easily use such tools as TweetDeck and Hootsuite (and others) to post your status on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time, or just LinkedIn and Twitter, or… You get the idea.
Speed and simplicity are wonderful, but what about communication? When I teach business writing, one of the first points I discuss with the class is the concept of knowing your audience and your goal. So I think of my online audience’s needs and my own goals before I publish any status update anywhere.
In my world, LinkedIn relationships are the most formal; this place is strictly for business. Facebook is more social; many of my “friends” are actually family members and old schoolmates. That’s the place where I might write about my aunt’s birthday party or comment on someone’s new baby pictures.
Twitter is my online water cooler, research department and referral engine, all in one. Most of my Twitter updates are business-oriented, but some are more personal, showing my authentic self, as they say. (I heard a great quote last year, and I wish I knew the author: Facebook represents the people you used to know; Twitter represents the people you’d like to get to know.)
If I posted the typical Twitter update on Facebook, most people would be flummoxed. The hashtags, RTs and @ signs don’t contribute much to readability when you’re not accustomed to them.
Each of us uses these social networks slightly differently, but I doubt that many of us are speaking to the same audience in each arena. At least for the foreseeable future, I’ll continue to update each site manually, with rare exception. What about you?
UPDATE: Since this post was written, Facebook changed its way of deciding which posts get into your friends’ streams. Items posted directly to Facebook are favoured over those posted via a third-party application. So there’s another reason to post directly to Facebook.