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The Merits of Someone Else’s Social Turf: Facebook vs. Twitter

The Merits of Someone Else’s Social Turf: Facebook vs. Twitter

By Steven Read, Senior Pre-Sales Consultant, Marketwired

Let me explain the traditional composition of the social media landscape within the Read household. It has always been simple and binary. I use Twitter on a daily basis and my wife uses Facebook. Every once in a while one of us looks up from our phones to be greeted by a look of disdain from the other followed by a debate about the shortcomings or vacuousness of each other’s chosen network.

But recently a paradigm shift has taken place in our cosy, mutually exclusive relationship. My wife has joined Twitter. Well, to be more precise she’s started to actually use the dormant Twitter account that I set up for her some years ago. I’d like to think that her change of heart was a reaction to my erudite summaries of the value of Twitter as an information network. I always particularly like the definition that Twitter themselves quote:

Although my all-time favourite summary of Twitter still comes from Shayla Maddox:

Sadly, even with the support of such eloquent proponents of Twitter it was not my attempts to extoll the virtues of Twitter that prompted Mrs. R to embrace her long-inactive Twitter handle. During one of the many excursions to collect one of our children from a club she spotted a minor celebrity (and we are talking minor even by UK standards). I suspected it may have been a case of mistaken identity until my wife shared with me the “Yes, I am who you think I am” private number plate on the yellow Range Rover of the individual in question.

Then she did what any sane person would do and logged into her long-dormant Twitter account and contacted the celeb in question to ask if it had indeed been him. As soon as the reply from the verified account came back the love affair between my wife and Twitter was cemented. For a Facebook devotee the sudden ability to interact with a ‘star’ instantly sold Twitter to the most stubborn of cynics.

The problem with cutting your social media teeth on a platform like Facebook where it’s easy to close off your content from public scrutiny is that it takes time to adapt the content you post to a different format. I was frequently chastised for not responding to or favouring tweets published by my wife. I explained (a little gleefully) that Twitter wasn’t Facebook and that she was in the wrong place to seek the constant affirmation that she was used to.

Over the following weeks various references to and pictures of our children had to be removed from Twitter, although I’m pretty sure that despite their lack of response both Niall and Harry from One Direction were touched to be sent pictures of my children posing with their waxworks.

What surprised me was that someone who had been active on social networks as long, if not longer, than me was sharing information that we’d always agreed to keep away from the public domain. When I gave the matter a little more thought, though, it was no different than the earlier expectation that Twitter would function more like Facebook. Importantly no harm was done, and my wife quickly got to grips with the privacy and access levels of a new social network. Nothing inappropriate was posted online and no one mistakenly published a Direct Message.

Arguably the responsibility of flagging up the potential pitfalls of your usage should lay with the social networks themselves. However, this is unlikely as anything that could potentially deter adoption and usage is not going to be included in their business plan.

I’m pleased to say that since then, my wife has started to behave far more as a Twitter native. She will disdainfully show me her friends’ Facebook updates with, “Why put that on Facebook? Save that for Twitter.”

Mrs. R has also continued to embrace Twitter as the means of bringing her closer to things that are important to her, as I discovered the other morning when I left her in bed in an attempt to watch a Grand Prix in peace…

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