Why You Shouldn’t Merge Tweets and Facebook Statuses

The ability to link Facebook statuses and tweets is great for lazy people, Tweetdeck fans, and social media aficionados boasting “Look at me, see what I can do!”  Ok, that’s a bit harsh. Yes, logging into various social networks to speak your mind may be a bit inconvenient. But it doesn’t mean that the best solution is to say the same exact thing everywhere.

Here are some reasons to consider unmerging your status updates and tweets:

1. The Annoyance Factor

The communication styles of Twitter and Facebook are completely different. Twitter includes elements like hashtags (#), replies (@), and retweets (RT@), and Facebook statuses have normal sentence structures. Facebook statuses are usually in the third person, whereas Tweets are usually in the first person. So merging your Tweets and Facebook statuses means that Twitter lingo will show up on Facebook, and third person sentences will show up on Twitter. Since #, @, and RT@ are irrelevant on Facebook, nobody wants to see it there. Especially when you’re replying to someone else, because then your status won’t even make sense. And you just look silly talking in the third person on Twitter. Very annoying.

2. The Privacy Factor

Everyone uses Facebook and Twitter differently, but commonly Facebook is like a reunion of friends and Twitter is like a podium in front of an audience with a short attention span. You can use Facebook’s super-customizable privacy settings and limit who reads your status updates. However, Twitter is completely public, so even people not following you can read your Tweets. You could restrict your profile completely, but then you won’t get many followers. So do you really want to be Tweeting everything you say on Facebook? Not only are people on Twitter not really interested in what you’re doing Friday night, but that’s a bit scary, right? People don’t have to be following you to pay attention to you; you’re just a URL away from who-knows-who.

3. The Who-Cares Factor

Like many people who use both Facebook and Twitter, I use Facebook for my friends and Twitter for everyone else, but mainly for my career field (marketing and social media).

One of my typical Facebook statuses might be: “Just had the most awesome weekend ever, but so sad it’s Monday!” My Facebook status will get several likes and a few “Me too” or “What did you do this weekend?” comments. My Twitter followers WILL NOT CARE.

One of my  typical tweets might read:  “Top 10 Ways For Brands to Use Social Media – bit.ly/yaddayadda.” My Tweet might get a few retweets and a reply, “You might like this article too: bit.ly/blahblah.” My Facebook friends WILL NOT CARE (unless they’re one of my coworkers).

4. The Word Limit Factor

On Twitter, you only get 140 characters to speak your mind. On Facebook, you get 420 characters for status updates. So why would you limit yourself to a mere 140 characters on Facebook when you don’t have to?

5. The Frequency Factor

The communication styles on Twitter and Facebook are much different. On Twitter, you want to meet new people and make yourself known, so you might update your status more frequently with links, useful knowledge you might have, and other interesting tidbits of information. On Facebook, things are more relaxed because all of your friends have friended you back; it’s not like you’re trying to impress people into following you. Because of this, people tend to tweet much more often than they update their Facebook status. So while it’s acceptable to have five tweets in a row, it’s almost obnoxious when someone on Facebook updates their status five times in a row.

It’s ok to merge tweets and status updates on an individual basis. For example, if there’s a funny link you want to share, or something everyone could enjoy, then by all means, merge away. Otherwise, keep them separated.

Do you merge your Tweets and Facebook statuses? What other reasons are there for not merging them. On the flip side, what do you think are the benefits of merging them?

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  1. says

    It should be noted that there are applications that remove hashtags (#), replies (@), and retweets (RT@) from the merge to Facebook. There are also other applications that allow you to add a prefix to a tweet notifying the merge to Facebook to take place, so that not all tweets, but only those with the specific prefix find their way to Facebook — the prefix does not appear in the tweet on Twitter (or in your manager) or in your Facebook status text.

    Someone didn't do all their homework.

  2. says

    Is there any way for my Facebook friends to follow my tweets right on Facebook? Is there any such Facebook application? I don't want to change my status, though.

  3. says

    The Selective Twitter Updates app for Facebook helps a lot if you want to just periodically update your FB via Twitter. Also, with Facebook now supporting @ (but in a different way) it can make sense to use it in limited scenarios.

    I usually update mine independently of each other – where's the fun otherwise?

  4. says

    The Selective Twitter Updates app for Facebook helps a lot if you want to just periodically update your FB via Twitter. Also, with Facebook now supporting @ (but in a different way) it can make sense to use it in limited scenarios.

    I usually update mine independently of each other – where's the fun otherwise?

  5. says

    Thanks for your comment!

    Even though Facebook now supports @, you still have to go to Facebook and manually start typing @Friend's Name to select the friend you're “mentioning.” So Twitter @'s won't carry over to Facebook with the appropriate tag linked to the user's profile, it will just be plain text. Although it would be great if Facebook could figure out how to integrate that sort of functionality. :-)

  6. says

    Then there's the ones who use Twitter as their blogs. Post after post after post, creating paragraphs of thought, clogging up the page. Just as annoying as those who use FB as Twitter.

  7. says

    Excellent post! It is very true that the communication style is very different between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is probably easier for many because as you mentioned, using plain sentences comes naturally (most people learn that in school). Adding the RT, @, and # for different meanings on Twitter may take a little getting used to, even for the smartest of folks. Life's a learning process, what can I say.

  8. Guest says

    Interesting. Based on how I use Twitter and Facebook, there’s no doubt I should have been mirroring my Tweets on Facebook for a long time.

    Fact is, for better — or, I think worse — your comparative description of how the normative user capitalizes on Twitter vs. Facebook does not fit my activity. For example, *none* of the twitterers who I follow would ever tweet, “Just had the most awesome weekend ever, but so sad it’s Monday!” I’d un-follow such a twitterer in a second.

  9. says

    Just read this, and think that a couple years ago (closer to when this was written) I may have agreed. Maybe its because people are now more sensitive of how their crossposted tweets will appear on Facebook, or just that my network of friends are on top of social media, including tweets in Facebook streams just seems natural.
    Anyway, curious if your opinion on this has changed at all.

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