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.

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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.

9 COMMENTS

  1. My Twitter is linked to all my social networks, Facebook, Link-in etc. Which I use for business updates. So an update on Twitter means an update on all. Because I find that about 50% of my business comes from referrals from friends and family, you also find that people you used to know at school are now grown up and may require your services. Luckily its a one way street so an update on Facebook doesn’t me an update on Twitter and Linked-In etc.

  2. I’ve always tried to avoid auto cross-posting for exactly the reasons you mention, Donna.

    Recently – in an attempt to streamline things a bit – I’ve been testing RSS Graffiti on Facebook. Neat tool, but I don’t think it’s for me!

    I’ve set parameters for RSS Graffiti to repost to my Facebook page and profile from my Twitter and Tumblr streams. No @ mentions, no RTs. And still, every auto-post has seemed out of context and I’ve deleted more than I’ve left.

    What I’ve learned: Even if it’s exactly the same information, I frame it differently on each platform. What makes perfect sense on Tumblr seems abstract reposted to Facebook. A pithy phrase that might catch my eye on Twitter becomes too vague o be interesting.

    I feel it makes people work to figure out why I found something interesting, which seems more than a bit counterproductive!

  3. I keep all three services separate for the ‘audience’ reasons you cite. I don’t need other professionals on LinkedIn reading and being confused by my ‘authentic self’ tweets, bon mots, etc

  4. I get keeping FB separate, but for me Twitter is about trying to create a brand and awareness for what value I can provide and the goal is to hopefully engage more people to add as LI connections. I would say that the same message with resonate with both social media connections.

    I can’t say its working leaps and bounds, but I’m still fairly new to Twitter.

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