Social networks have been growing rapidly. EVERYONE who is ANYONE is a part of at LEAST one and usually many networking platforms. Some use them for reconnecting with long-lost friends, while others use it to aggressively market their new… whositzwhatzit.
But with so many new and crazy things out there it’s hard to decide what to use and the best way to use them… In this networking article I will describe to two that have been getting the most clout lately – Facebook and Twitter – what they’re good for, and how you might be able to use them for your benefit.
Until the outburst of social networking, networking was something that you had to be outgoing to do. In today’s world it’s just a matter of the click of a button and you can make new connections … and now it is even “cool” to do so.
But just as you probably wouldn’t go to an art conference to network for your new breakthrough-medical-cure, you also don’t want to use the tools available today in the wrong ways.
So what’s the difference between Facebook and Twitter?
I’ll add you as a friend on Facebook if I met you in the supermarket while looking for the right loaf of bread and you seemed interesting.
I’ll add you as a friend on Twitter if I think you may have something interesting to say, regardless of whether I have ever had any connection whatsoever with you in the past.
Facebook was designed to connect between the physical world and the cybersphere. It originated on a college campus. If you met someone at a party, or in class, you no longer needed to remember digits, just their name. All you had to do was search for their name and you were connected.
But Facebook has very detailed profiles, personal interactions happen there. I was, at first, horrified when my parents first joined. TMI!!! (Too Much Information) As much as I love them, it was like a flashback to being 16, hanging with some friend in my room and the door opens…
Facebook has matured since, people can now share various amounts of information with different groups of people so you can keep that “hang out” space with your friends as well as a different environment for connecting with colleagues or even your parents.
But still, by it’s very nature, while you may feel comfortable sharing with perfect strangers the list of your favorite movies and music you probably will not feel comfortable sharing with them the details of your day-to-day life. Facebook as a social platform reflects, eerily, the physical world. Parties and events are planned and discussed. People meet-up and break up, people not only share their views of the world but also views from their latest vacation or holiday.
It’s just not the place to share with everyone and anyone.
On twitter you share everything with everyone… but in fragments of 140 characters at a time.
Because of the nature of the way people share on twitter, people feel comfortable sharing almost anything with anyone. How much are you actually exposing yourself with restrictions like that?
Since people feel comfortable sharing with everyone on twitter, you can connect with people that you normally would never connect with: from politicians to famous rock-stars, to people on the other side of the planet, or even to the international space-station for that matter … All these people are sharing themselves 140 characters at a time. Because you are protected by the limitations of the platform you can feel completely comfortable connecting with anyone.
Another benefit of twitter is that it is immediate. People tweet from EVERYWHERE and EVERYWHEN. There are many tools to see what is happening in the twittersphere. You can check trends, which allow you to see popular terms being tweeted about at that time. You can also search for a specific topic. This ability to find information on twitter so easily and instantaneously allows you to follow event’s as they unfold.
You thought you were getting news as it developed from CNN? With news networks you get updates only every hour… Twitter has instant updates… and they are not only updates on what the new network decides is important, but you can get updates on just about every topic you like. If you want to know what is going on in the publishing world, follow a few editors, and there you go!
Don’t follow me on Facebook
Twitter is fantastic for networking, because you can share without sharing too much. Facebook is fantastic for networking because you can easily share SO much with all the people that you want to share with. One of my biggest peeves is when people ask me to “follow” them on Facebook. Have I met you? no! So why would I want you to see everything that is going on in my life?
I understand that someone may like to use Facebook for professional networking, but that is what Linkedin is for. Facebook was not designed for that. When I’m relaxing with some friends I don’t want to be pestered with invitations to groups about networking. That’s just how it goes. I’m not saying that you cannot in any way use Facebook for business, I do it from time to time. With the privacy settings you can compartmentalize business from pleasure pretty easily. But that takes time, and careful understanding of how Facebook works. You will not get the results you are looking for if you use Facebook like twitter and ask people to “follow” you
The Bottom Line
Here’s a rule of thumb. If you met someone at a party or any informal social gathering…
You’ll talk politics. You’ll take out your iphone and show them your latest photos. You might tell them about an article you wrote. You may tell them a little bit about what you do. You might even invite them to a business meeting, but informally. You can do that all on Facebook.
But would you try to hard-sell them?