Twitter & Facebook: An Uneasy Marriage

When I first really started paying attention to Twitter in late November 2007, I succinctly lamented the lack of a Facebook connector. Twitter was, after all, a status tool, and it would only make sense that I could keep the two in sync. Facebook Mobile was not yet the most developed thing on the planet at that time, and I thought it would be nifty to send a service a text message to keep my Facebook friends up to date.

Then a funny thing happened; I started using Twitter as a microblog, with more frequent updates than pithy status messages on Facebook. I also thought the connector’s “is twittering” — a limitation of Facebook status then was that it was required to start with the word “is” — was kind of lame as well. So, I decided to stop synchronizing Facebook status with Twitter status and let the two run their course.

However, more and more Facebook friends started populating their Facebook status with their tweets, even though they may send many, many tweets a day (as I do). I got to thinking about perhaps reuniting the two; after all, I still have maybe 10% of my friends using Twitter, which means a majority of my friends are missing out on my wit. ;) I’d been tossing this idea around for a few weeks when the other day I ran across this provocatively titled Inquistr article by Duncan Riley. In the article, Riley notes that his response rate on Facebook has been more substantial than he ever thought possible. That was it; the one that pushed me over the edge, in essence.

So, Monday, the experiment resumed: I re-linked my Twitter and Facebook statuses. And the response? I’ve seen some decent response rates. But the mess? Oh, the mess. It speaks for itself:


First, that’s a lot of status updates. In my deliberation of whether to relink, I’ve said that Facebook is a “slower” service, as it’s not intended to be something that one would run in the background as a real-time application (though the function is available). It’s something people check and then generally head away from. Services like Twitter or FriendFeed, though, are predicated on the idea of near-real-time interaction. Thus, bombarding Facebook with Twitter updates — generally, any update not intended as a reply to another Twitter user is published in the News Feed — doesn’t really fit with how I perceive the service. Additionally, “Jared I can’t help but wonder…” does NOT make grammatical sense. Facebook’s status system intends to maintain the integrity of a complete sentence in its updates, and doing less really looks funny. (Thus, as crazy as it sounds, Plurk’s structured status updates make far more sense for synchronizing to Facebook.) Certainly, I could start my Twitter status updates as incomplete sentences, but that’s not how I construct messages on that service. This is one of those “irreconcilable differences” that my writer self is struggling with. Finally, people not used to the noise could be tempted to un-friend me (much as I’ve sustained many unfollows on Twitter over the last year because of my verbose nature).

However, I can’t argue that there’s been results. Some tweets have touched off some neat conversation, and the goal of getting those tweets out to those people who may never read them did indeed work. Indeed, it’s a double-edged sword.

In a perfect world, Twitter’s Facebook app would give me the option to insert tweets into the News Feed on its own without changing my Facebook status. I do want Facebook people, after all, to have easy access to my Twitter updates as they’re a huge part of my online presence. In lieu of Twitter-specific News Feed items, I’d like to at least free the box holding my Twitter status from the Boxes tab and place it prominently on my Wall tab. Unfortunately for months I’ve gotten this failure message when I’ve tried to do that (and yes, I have reported it). This has to be fixed. I am very judicious about what displays on my Wall tab, and Twitter status I consider too important of an item to be confined to a Boxes tab that nobody but the most bored will click.

In the end, I’ve decided to once again separate Twitter and Facebook. Links to my Twitter profile are pervasive throughout my profile if they want to get at it. My Twitter timeline is also available, with comments and “likes,” on my FriendFeed tab. The clutter and spamminess of the whole thing just did not sit well with me and how I use the service, and thus it’s best to keep this separated for at least a while longer, in my mind. Here’s hoping that some of the alternatives I’ve laid out can come to fruition, as I feel very uneasy keeping these services in silos. Of course, these are purely my perceptions. Some of you out there won’t care about grammatical correctness or News Feed overload. What’s been your experience? Why have you — or have you not — linked your Twitter to Facebook?

Update: Andra Watkins does a great job explaining the benefits of synchronizing status. She makes some great points, especially when noting that people can, in fact, turn down noise from specific folks in the News Feed. (I forgot about this feature, as I generally like to have everything there.)


When Worlds Collide

Something that might get lost in the larger story of Hurricane Gustav and (to a lesser extent) Tropical Storm Hanna is how the “old” media started looking towards — and, dare I say, embracing — “new” social media tools.


The New Facebook

Facebook is publicly beta testing a drastic redesign of their site to try to allay a lot of complaints that the site has become extremely cluttered with applications (oh, has it ever). While reactions seem mixed, I think this new design has a potential to be a real winner. I, personally, can’t go back to the old look now.


Serious Business: Web PR, Cell Phones, and more!

Tonight’s Serious Business was a resounding success. Thanks to everybody who stopped in and really made it something great. Here’s hoping next week is just as good.

Here’s the recorded show, in case you missed it — and it was a good one. We went in-depth on PR practices with bloggers, new vs. old media, and you’ll even find out what my baseball bandwagon is this year…

Remember that, for now at least, we’re doing this every Sunday at 8:30 over on Check out the show’s website for links to the show as well as a link to the Facebook page. Fan the show if you deem it worthy. :) I’ll have more at the show website soon; it needs a WordPress install, I just need time.


Why I Blog

Yesterday’s Wednesday Why at Lowcountry Blogs asks “Why do you have a blog?”

For me, it simply starts with the ability to have some sort of voice. I feel as if I can get whatever message I want out much more effectively through this medium than, say, if I stood at a street corner shouting my lungs out. I’ll sound less hoarse and blogging is generally far less obnoxious (unless I started tYpInG lyKe tHiS OmG FoR ShiZZle! [which I won’t]). Blogging lets me engage in a conversation about whatever I want with whoever is willing to listen, and that’s cool too. I can’t go around to random people and start throwing out baseball stories or talking at length about BlackBerries without being slapped at least once. It’s certainly a great outlet for my eclectic interests that I would not have otherwise. (I know I won’t meet anyone within a 100-mile radius who will willingly [and seriously] discuss Weather Channel local forecast computers with me.)

More importantly, though, I feel blogging gives me a great historical record to look upon. I’ve been doing this for quite a while (as my old site and archives attest to). Every once in a while I get a serious kick and a great laugh about some of the ridiculous stuff I wrote in high school. It’s helped me to measure my progress not just as a writer or Web designer, but also as a human being, still finding his way in the world. Having a reasonably complete record from late age 15 to age 23 (and going!) really gives me a kick (though I am incredibly pissed that my Realm 4 database, covering 2002-2005 appears to have been lost forever — but that was a dark period, so maybe it’s not so bad). It’s wild; I’ve never kept a private journal. I don’t like writing things that nobody else is going to read; I don’t see the fun in that, or much of a release in that. I feel I get much more out of my writing and my experiences when I can share them with others — and ultimately, that’s why I take to the blogosphere, because in the blogosphere, you’re never alone.

As Per Whatever

I’d pay for Twitter

Twitter’s business model is the big topic today. I won’t rehash the details — Dan does a good job of rounding up the situation — but in short, the enthusiasm for Twitter seems to grow on a daily basis, and I think there would be more willing to pay for upgraded features than we might think.

During my vacation, Twitter caught such a foothold with me — the Public Timeline is just downright fascinating — that I’m now spending more time with it on an ongoing basis than Facebook. Facebook is still useful, don’t get me wrong, but as an ongoing conversation and alerts tool, Twitter is much more useful to me. I like that I can keep up with local bloggers and get breaking news (I’m following CNN and Techmeme among others) in the same stream. It’s the ultimate News Feed — in comparison, Facebook’s feed is pretty much useless in a sense of actual “news”. With the ecosystem exploding in growth around it, Twitter has real staying power — and real value in a marketplace.


Insomnia, For The Loss!

Random insomnia-borne observations:

  • A couple days after realigning the room, I’m really a big fan. Why didn’t I do it this way the first time?
  • I tried to watch Abrams & Bettes on The Weather Channel last night. Couldn’t do it. I like both their personalities, but I can’t watch the show. Something about it seems really forced, like they’re trying to crowbar a newscast into a lineup full of…newscasts. So, they make it extra newscasty, which, in my mind, just doesn’t seem to work. Watching A&B made me long for the days of the early-to-mid ’90s again.
  • I remember the last time a pitcher went to an NL West team for over $100 million. What are the odds of Barry Zito turning out like Kevin Brown in San Francisco? Zito’s magic avoidance of injury thus far in his career has been impressive, but any guy with a hook like he has is asking for arm problems down the road. The Giants paid a lot of money and once again took this offseason to ridiculously new heights, as if that was even possible. A pitcher the likes of Johan Santana should easily command $20-$25 million a year now on the free agent market. Look for small market teams to be much more guarded with their farm systems as the years roll on.
  • Nothing says Christmas like marshmallow-stuffed snowmen. Nothing.
  • Vacations that take a lot of work and are over-planned totally defeat the purpose, IMO. I’ve been talking to a friend for a few days who has been absolutely exhausted from her vacation in Florida, which was planned out point by point. What’s the point of a vacation where one MUST be up at 9:30 every morning? That’s low value. This friend is now taking a vacation from vacations.
  • Brian Goode’s calling it: Rain on New Year’s Eve. It’s looking pretty solid for that, too. The more I think about it, the more likely I am to stay in at this point, though wandering to a random bar to be selected is not totally out of the question (unless someone wishes to kindly save me from this kind of low value fate).
  • I signed into Classmates for the first time in about a year and a half this weekend, and was reminded why I stayed away in the first place: Errors, ads, and then not being able to do anything without paying a fee…in other words, it’s totally incompatible with Web 2.0. Facebook and MySpace effectively render sites like Classmates pretty much obsolete thanks to their unbridled FREE accessibility and more expressive profile options.
  • I’m looking forward to the new semester, real bad. I’m in several media courses and am really looking forward to getting into the meat of the major.
  • If you have LiveJournal, I’ve got The Blog crossposting to mine now. Add me to your friends list if you like. :)
  • Finally…I have a lot of work to do in Flight Simulator 2004. I’ve been struggling badly with my landings…

It’s bedtime for real now, before the sun comes up. :) Later folks.

As Per Whatever

I am Time’s Person of the Year…

…and so are you. Big responsibility, huh? :) It’s a neat piece, and almost a startling admission that user-generated content is increasingly driving the agenda of the media. Good read, I recommend it.

The momentum of this phenomenon you and I are caught up in sure seems unstoppable, but a Gartner report seems to foretell otherwise. I’m not going to argue too much with the basic premise of this, really — the honeymoon will inevitably end. The blogosphere will settle down a bit and work out its kinks like a good system should; these ‘kinks’ are personal websites that may or may not have much influence that eventually are abandoned. Chances are, if a blog is abandoned, it either wasn’t that great or wasn’t being read much, or perhaps it had simply run its course. This is normal, though; this has happened since the Web came to fruition. It’s not a sign of a giant Web 2.0 meltdown; rather, it’s a sign that Web 2.0 is robust; far more robust, I think, than the initial 2000 dotcom bust. People will come, people will go, but the system is in place more firmly than ever, I think.


Enter DOPA: Expansion of the nanny state

CNET is reporting on the passage in the House of DOPA, the Deleting Online Predators Act, which aims to impose a federal mandate for libraries and schools to restrict access to MySpace and other sites that offer chat room or social functionality — in other words, most of the Internet — to minors. The legislation appears to be very broad, as it targets any site that permits the creation of a “public profile.” So, in other words, this includes most blogs (including this very site), message boards, chat rooms, Facebook, MySpace…you name it.

Here’s my take: It’s poor legislation that I think attacks the wrong problem the wrong way. There are perfectly legitimate academic uses for some discussion sites and blogs, I think. Yes, Internet predators are a real problem, and we have to deal with them, but let’s not ignore the possibility of predators at playgrounds and other public places. They’re still out there as well. What do we do? Ban the usage of playgrounds by minors? Restrict minors to a federally-mandated curfew? What kind of parent lets their kid onto the Internet without supervision anyway? I don’t know too many parents who let their young children out on a playground, or any public place, without some kind of supervision. The playground isn’t responsible for watching the children, the parents are. Why does the Internet have to be any different? Our government clearly knows next to nothing about how the Internet works (see Ted Stevens’ rant about “internet tubes” for a prime example) but wants to legislate the living hell out of it because it’s still relatively new and must be a breeding ground for lawlessness and anarchy. That, and it represents the circumvention of traditional media controls for the free exchange of ideas, and that seems to threaten a lot of people.