Knowing Your Audience: When to Use Tweets vs. Status Updates

April 20, 2010 · Posted in Marketing, Social Media · Comments Off 

In the world of social media, one of the most viewed pieces of content is the tweet or status update.  Updates and photos.  Those are the biggest social media traffic builders.  In fact, according to a recent PEW Internet study “Some 19% of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others.”  In addition to this stat, at Chirp, a developer conference for Twitter, it was stated that Twitter has over 55M Tweets per day compared to Facebook’s 60M status updates per day.  I first saw that stat come from Steve Rubel, a VP at Edelman PR and I immediately replied back what was obvious to me, “but how many of those status updates are really tweets?”  And there lies my problem.

For me, I use Twitter distinctly different than Facebook.  What I share with these distinct audiences is different, and purposely set up to be different.  In fact, I’m more likely to connect my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts than I am Twitter and Facebook.   You see, I use Facebook for personal reasons.  I don’t have two accounts like many people do (which violate their terms of service, you know that thing you agree to when you create accounts on sites that you most likely never read).  I leave my personal / professional network to Twitter and LInkedIn.  I often see people using the convenience of tools like TweetdeckFriendFeed,  or even just built in integrations between Twitter and Facebook (with a Facebook App) to update a status once and let it go to many social networks.  I think that is a mistake.

I know I’m not alone when I find a tweet in my news feed on Facebook annoying.  Twitter uses different protocols for replies and use of hashtags for topics.  While Facebook has attempted to incorporate the @ symbol as well, to be frank, I just think that audience doesn’t get it, and that’s why it isn’t used.  I also think the way people tweet, at times linking people to other content, websites, or replies to people is different than how people publish status updates on Facebook.  This makes for a very disjointed news feed.  It has gotten to the point that I’m about to “unfriend” all my Facebook friends who integrate the two together.  I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work for me.

Presumably you use your networks differently as well.  Maybe not to the same degree I do, but the people you friend on Facebook may not be the same people you follow on Twitter or connect with on LinkedIn.  So why send them all the same message?  Just like marketers have to segment and target their messages to get the most return on their investment, you too should be conscious about what messages you send to your networks.  You will have stronger networks in the end who will pay attention to what you have to say, not ignore you because the last 10 tweets had nothing to do with what you talk to your friends about on Facebook.

I never found out the answer to my question regarding how many Facebook status updates were really Tweets.  Maybe someone will publish that stat someday.

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