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Lindsay Bell

Reflections on Change: Why I Left Twitter for Facebook

By: Lindsay Bell | December 19, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is by Lindsay Bell.

As this year winds down, many of you are pausing and reflecting.

I’m no different.

This year (and a half) has been a tough one for me and my family.

My husband and I were both laid off – twice – at the exact same time.

We’re one of those annoying couples who do everything together.

There’ve been health hiccups, and, as seems to be the case as we all get older, we’ve lost good friends.

The world around us has seen war and unimaginable wickedness transpire that made each of us grab the ones we love and hold on a little tighter.

But 2012 brought a boat-load of happiness as well. New friends, new opportunities, great love, and hope on the horizon.

As my dear old dad always said, “A change is as good as a rest.”  And another big change happened for me this year. I broke up with Twitter.

Social Love

All kidding aside though, those of us who work with social media, and use it regularly in our personal lives, usually have a favorite. One platform that we open first, chat on more, share things to most often. For the last few years, personally, that platform has been Twitter. I loved Twitter. I connected with people from all around the world, and made friends who I feel deeply connected to, even though we had never met in real life.

Facebook? Meh.

Aside from a brief period when I was obsessed with Farmville (Yeah. I said it.), I kept schtum. Being on the job hunt these last few years, I categorized my social properties: Facebook was family and a few close friends, while Twitter was work-related. And ne’er the twain shall meet.

So, when I received a tweet from a pal in Australia recently asking me where I’d been, it made me stop and think. Because she was right – I was cheating on Twitter with Facebook.

When I really thought about it, I came up with a few reasons why, and none of them involved the seven year itch. During the past year or so, a number of things happened: I gained confidence in the social space, meaning I was less paranoid about someone seeing a candid photo of myself, or reading a goofy post.

All of those job changes allowed me to meet a wider variety of folk, many of whom were Facebook aficianadi. Without even realizing I was doing it, I began to cross-populate Facebook with many of my friends from Twitter. And slowly, through conversation and commenting, I met more and more people.

Suddenly, Facebook was a blast! Conversation flows seamlessly, and people are just different on Facebook. Some of the most “serious” (in my mind) people I followed on Twitter, turned out to be a hoot and a half on Facebook! Facebook was the ‘beers on the back deck’ to the boardroom of Twitter. And y’all know I love beer.

Social Favorites?

Before writing about this, I did what any self-respecting social media type would do – I took it to the streets. This non-scientific poll determined one thing. People love to dole out the snark on Facebook! Stacey Hood, stuck in the ’80′s, loves faxing poetry. Paul Sutton really likes FacetwitinterestInsquare+ (which I promptly trademarked); Daniel Agee deeply misses Gowalla; and fellow Canuck Susan Murphy couldn’t decide between Geocities, Plurk, or identi.ca. She also asked if I regretted crowdsourcing. Yes. Yes I did.

A few people said they disliked it but needed to be there “because everyone else is.”

But overall, most people liked Facebook. Marjorie Claymen loves the ease with which conversation develops and threads can be followed. Susie Erjavec Parker enjoys FB (and Twitter) for doing research. Helen Androlia seems oddly guilt ridden about her affection for ‘The Book of Face’ as she calls it, saying “I know it’s wrong, but why does it feel so right?”, and even Gini Dietrich admitted Facebook had replaced Twitter in her affections.

Facebook takes a lot of flack, much of it warranted. But for me, at the end of 2012, it’s my go-to social property.

Change is scary, and at times you can’t imagine what good will come of it. But usually, if you embrace it, evolve, and roll with it, you can come out the other side with positives that far outweigh the negatives. It seems dear old Dad was right. A change IS as good as a rest.

I’ll leave you with this: Have you seen a change in your social habits this year? And do you have a favorite social platform? 

Lindsay Bell is the content director at Arment Dietrich, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, and two annoying cats. 

About Lindsay Bell


Lindsay Bell is the content director at Arment Dietrich, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

48 comments
anitahovey
anitahovey

Interesting. I'm really surprised so many people are breaking up with Twitter for Facebook. I'm still a huge Twitter user and Facebook for me right now is about Cityville (Yeah I feel yer pain). I'm happy with a business presence on both,  but for personal interaction I gravitate to Twitter where I can get instant answers when I need them. I guess that's why they keep inventing new networks...we all want something different.

barrykahan
barrykahan

This is great insight. Easy to get into the black hole of time going though twitter feed. My biggest struggle is the personal name vs the business name for twitter and Facebook. Hard enough to find the time to do one. Not a big fan of automation.

 

I am a solopreneur. (promo products and apparel)  Certainly want to use the social media tools for business. But I am the voice, personality of the business. I have a facebook business page and a personal. Not crazy about pushing business on personal, but have also found that B2B on business page, difficult.  Also, am I crazy that I do not feel comfortable sharing my work I've done for clients on such a visible business page?  Heck, shhhhh....even I snoop at competitors pages. Why give them a great tip on who to contact?

 

All the "experts" talk about not pushing your products on SM. But if I am going on a business facebook page, I want to learn about what they or people are saying about the company and their products. Why would anyone come back to my page if I don't discuss my business and products? Otherwise I can just go to Twitter and read articles : ) .

 

Thanks again for this article. Found it very thought provoking.

JillElswick
JillElswick

I also fell "out of love" with Twitter, in 2011. I turned to Facebook for the ability to interact with a smaller group of people I wanted to know better. I see Twitter as an outlet for marketing; Facebook is more personal. I have not found my voice on G+, but I may try again. 

JeffRutherford
JeffRutherford

I prefer Google+ over both Twitter and Facebook.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

I spend far more time on FB, but as you know, I've fallen out of love with as a marketing tool. Here's the thing: you are completely right -it's much better for social conversation - you get a more well rounded view of people AND there are far fewer FB Spammers than there are on Twitter.  

 

However, from a revenue perspective I see this as FB's big problem: sure, everyone is IN there, but for social reasons.  Meaning, unlike search, they do not WANT to be targeted with ads.  How does FB earn revenue on a truly social platform?  Their promoted posts/stories (which I see as one in the same by the way) aren't the answer. All that does is piss off marketers, companies AND viewers. What they SHOULD have done is charge a few bucks a month to use it as a communication tool.  Sadly, it's not my baby.So, while you're falling in love with my old flame, I'm out trying like hell to find G+ remotely attractive... and I just got into the new MySpace. 

leaderswest
leaderswest

Awesome insights, Lindsay (as usual!)  I think it's really interesting not only to hear your perspective but also Margie, Susie and Gini (all favorites!).  I wonder if maybe there is a shift for early-adopters back to Facebook?

editjules
editjules

Great post! Usually it's the opposite--people break up with FB and stay on Twitter. I just wanna know one thing though: How much social media does one person actually need??

Shonali
Shonali

I've been on Facebook MUCH more than Twitter, and I was wondering about that too. Part of it was that I went through a pretty significant career change myself, as you know, so I didn't have the time - yes, it takes time! - to regularly skim through my Twitterstream as I used to. Plus, let's face it, Twitter is public, and Facebook, if you tweak your settings, is not... and I have VERY good privacy settings on Facebook! - so I felt much more free there to say things I wouldn't/couldn't say on Twitter. However, I do love Twitter very very much, so I don't know if I've broken up with it so much as taken a break. :)

I was also trying out Path. I do like it, but then you start running into that problem... how many platforms are you going to be on consistently, and if you start cross-posting anything and everything, then is there really a point? So I'm meh-ish on everything else... though Google+ is growing on me, and that is one platform I DO want to engage on more!

Latest blog post: Home for the Holidays

allenmireles
allenmireles

I have done the same thing, @belllindsay . I am seriously cheating on Twitter with Facebook and it's been so the past several years. It happened without my noticing and I find these days I sometimes forget to check my twitterstream, something that would have been unheard of in 2008 or 2009. Since Twitter acquired Tweetdeck I have lost the familiar go to tool and haven't found a replacement, making it that much easier to forget to use Twitter in favor of Facebook of G+.

Sean McGinnis
Sean McGinnis

The problem with the twitterz is this - we're all following too many people! The stream flies by so fast (even when  segmented with lists) whereas good ole' edgerank makes sure I see things from my 'close" friends on Facebook, which makes for better engagement opportunities (and more of them). I LOVE Facebook! Been saying it for a while. I get 10X more value from FB than from Twitter right now.

SocialMediaDDS
SocialMediaDDS

I am so glad that you wrote this...it's like you helped me to admit my dirty little secret....I was all about Twitter from 2009-2011 and now....sigh....Facebook stole my social heart.  Thank you for helping me to come clean!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

Twitter is just harder an harder to get much out of these days. I agree that the conversations on FB are far better. Business info worth reading is still more plentiful and less filtered on Twitter, but LinkedIn is starting to catch up. All of a sudden, the cryptic nature of Twitter is getting annoying! Who would thunk it?

TonyBennett
TonyBennett

Yes, I've seen some new trends.  Instagram aside, since I talk about that at naseum already, I've shifted my social time away from Twitter.  The primary beneficiary has been Google+, but I still waste a fair amount of time on FB, too.  Oh, about Instagram again, sorry I lied... what does one have to do in order for you to follow them :)

ThePaulSutton
ThePaulSutton

Totally agree with everything you say here. I've been pondering this since you asked the question actually, and came to the exact same conclusion. I find relationships upheld purely through Twitter to be a lot more superficial; it's not that people are necessarily more guarded, but that you don't really get to know a lot about a person in brief 140 character soundbites.

 

Over the last year or two I've been doing the same as you and trying to connect with more people I've met (and like) on Twitter through Facebook (like yourself, for example). I feel that I get to see more of a person's personality in Facebook and get more of a sense of that person. Which is great. I can divide up who sees what content using Lists, and connect more deeply with the people I want to. Twitter's great for what it is - an information resource - but the old adage of "it's all about the conversation" just isn't so true anymore. 

 

In fact, I wrote a post on this exact topic in March 2011 called 'The Cool Kids Play on Twitter But the Masses Play on Facebook': http://futurecomms.co.uk/2011/03/30/the-cool-kids-play-on-twitter-but-the-masses-play-on-facebook/

 

And finally....FacetwitinterestInsquare+ IS the big thing for 2013. You heard it here first...

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

While FB & Twitter still occupy top honors, I love the intimacy of niche-works like Path. Path especially satisfies my drive to share moments and thoughts with a very carefully cultivated group of friends.  

Latest blog post: It’s All Changed

GailBoisclair
GailBoisclair

Great post Lindsay and I agree - For both business and personal, Facebook has been my 'go to' site for social media.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

I find Facebook and G+ conversations flow faster and with greater ease than Twitter. I still really like Twitter but since so many people use it as a broadcast channel it has become harder to engage.

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @barrykahan I think you're right, for business pages FB can work great because the platform itself is so visual. I know personally, if I head over to a business page on FB, I *want* to see what you do, and/or what you sell - that's why I'm there! That said, you have to be careful not to constantly bombard your fans with non-top promotional updates and images. Find your balance between sharing other fun stuff and sharing actual deals or product images. And yes, we all snoop! LOL :D THanks for stopping by Barry, and Merry Christmas! 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @AmyMccTobin Yeah, G+ doesn't do much for me either, Amy. Though to be fair I don't spend a lot of time on it. Something about the layout and usability of it rubs me the wrong way. I agree, FB should have monetized the thing long ago, I think many people would pay 20$ a year to use it. And with the gazillion users?? Holy Ka'ching!!

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @leaderswest Why thank you, kind sir! :D It was a fun little experiment, and so many people have come out and admitted similar feelings to mine. I might have done a public service with this post. LOL 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @editjules HA! I think the never ending "brand new platforms" are a bit much, and I can't keep  up with them all. But social media has really changed my life, professionally and otherwise. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. ;) 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @Shonali I cringe when I think about how many platforms are out there Shonali. There's just NO way I could keep up with them all. I agree that Twitter takes more time, I find myself just 'skimming' these days also, as you mentioned. I really think that (and this might sound lame, but..) as I gained confidence and experience *professionally* in the space, I began to feel less paranoid about opening up my FB to other people, aside from friends/family. Then, voila! Many of the "work related" people I allowed into my FB inner walls are now really good friends!! I'm thrilled to have connected with you, for example! :D 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @allenmireles Interesting how many people have said the same thing here Allen. Twitter has it's place, and to really make FB work one needs to be prepared to open up and allow people "in", as I had to do, to great success, but ultimately it's a way more fun platform to play on. :D 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @Sean McGinnis I agree Sean, it's just too fast. Whereas with FB it's so much easier to track people/conversations/etc.. It's been great getting to know you better on FB! 

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @Sean McGinnis And, we're not using lists, no matter how many times we promise to.  Additionally, it's a very ADD conversation on Twitter - I don't like the frantic pace and the staccato of it.

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

 @rustyspeidel Agree that Twitter is getting tougher, but I find, as a relative newcomer, that focus and self-limitation on followers/followed really helps (as a consequence, I may never get to a Klout or Kred worthy level of followers; so be it); but LinkedIn, save for a few connections who regularly post content updates (versus "is now connected with...") the groups have been nearer to spam fests than valuable content sources; and LinkedIn endorsements have are turning it into a game, a lousy, annoying game; that's my focus group of one; glad to hear you're faring better there.

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @rustyspeidel Indeed, I really thought Twitter was all that and a bag of chips. And don't get me wrong, I still love it, just for different reasons. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @ThePaulSutton Yay! I'm glad my question spurred some thinking. I think for me, I was SO dead-set against allowing anyone into my FB site, concerned about them seeing the real me, the odd, perhaps risque night on the town photo, that I shut it down completely. I'm really loving the new me, and the new Facebook experience that comes from this new me. I completely agree you get to know people so much better on FB. 

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @jasonkonopinski So there you go Lindsay - I'm onto something.  Jason - I want to skype or hangout with you soon to talk about Path if you have time.

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @jasonkonopinski I don't  have enough time in my life to carefully cultivate friends. LOL I kind of feel that's what I did with FB, I guess, only "certain" people are in. 

TonyBennett
TonyBennett

You're right, Path really makes you feel like you "know" someone. My problem is I didn't carefully enough cultivate my group of friends and I ended up turning notifications off... then subsequently forgot about... and now it's just an internal battle I'm being stubborn about whether to get back on.  Oy Vey!

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @GailBoisclair Interesting for business also, eh Gail? I think that overall the general population has embraced it more wholeheartedly than they have Twitter. More "moms and pops" on Facebook than Twitter. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes That's exactly it Josh. I think when I started using Twitter it was more conversational, and it really evolved over time to, as you said, a broadcast channel. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I scan it for news and updates, and the like, but I love the way conversations evolve on Facebook. 

JeffRutherford
JeffRutherford

 @belllindsay I think the conversations are much, much deeper than Twitter. In terms of the various platforms, G+ is more like Twitter than Facebook - since you can decide to circle anyone and you'll be able to see their public posts.

 

I also think the integration of Google Hangouts is well done. I've participated in a variety of Hangouts (video chats), but I also routinely now use private Hangouts for video chats with clients. 

 

The G+ audience is very international, and I like that exposure to different people and different POVs.

 

If you're interested, I would suggest that you try G+ consistently for a month before giving up completely. Now that G+ has communities, look for some communities around your interests and join those.

 

I created a Quilting community the first day that communities were available on G+, we're now 150+ members and there's lots of great conversations. (Yep, I'm a rare male quilter :) ).

 

Finally, Google is intently using G+ to develop AuthorRank - the next iteration of search technology. AuthorRank will eventually have a huge impact on SEO, and that's something to consider as well.

 

See these articles for more:

 

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-prepare-for-authorrank-and-get-the-jump-on-google

 

http://www.omegaweb.com/2012/12/google-author-rank-the-next-big-thing-in-seo/

leaderswest
leaderswest

 @belllindsay You laugh (out loud), but I found it really insightful and doubt that I'm the only person (at least judging from the comments and my spider sense).  I think it's a pretty special insight to elaborate on the value that Facebook offers its users when a lot of people are scouring the internets to find the next big thing.  It puts in perspective my futile quest to assemble fellow Ke$ha fans in the new MySpace.... 

editjules
editjules

 @belllindsay Social media has changed my life but i'm not letting it take over my life. I still have the big three: FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. That's all that's needed for me. I like having a life outside of social media, you know??

Sean McGinnis
Sean McGinnis

 @anitahovey Heh. Strange words I suppose.

 

I do use lists on Twitter. A lot. The problem is hardly anyone else is and so the level of engagement is FAR lower for me.

 

When I post something on Twitter, 5 times out of ten I'll get next to nothing in terms of a response. When I post the same thing on Facebook, it's liable to turn into a 200 comment discussion thread. Whether that's due to Edgerank or not is certainly debatable. But the bottom line is I FAR prefer it for my own personal usage.

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

 @belllindsay  @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes So true, this.  My twitter feed is basically a river of shared links. I admit I'm somewhat new to twitter though, and have only recently begun to get the hang of it. But, the character limit really makes it a challenge for me to communicate.  Facebook feels more like a forum.

 

By the way, any suggestions on marketing-related groups to join on Facebook?

 

Or have they already moved to Google+?  : )

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @JeffRutherford Just commented and it vanished. Argh. I said something vaguely intelligent sounding, and will take your suggestion to try it out for a month. Also, the fact that you're a quilter is super cool. My sister quilts. Happy Holidays to you and yours! LB

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @JeffRutherford A quilter!? I love it! My sister quilts. I think I might do what you suggested, give it a month or so and see if I can get into it. I just found (in the past) that I couldn't develop connections on G+. Perhaps it's matured. Or perhaps I have. ;) Happy Holidays to you! LB

editjules
editjules

 @belllindsay believeyoume, it was a tough habit to break, but you know what? It's real nice outside! And, if you really feel like it, you can take a photo via instagram to let everyone know you're out in the world! baa haa!

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @editjules You have a life outside of social media...!?!? LOL I am impressed, because there are days where I wonder if I do!! :D

Trackbacks

  1. [...] comments below a post by Lindsay Bell shortly before Christmas on her abandoning Twitter are also very revealing. They talk of a boredom [...]

  2. [...] recent post by Lindsay Bell on Spin Sucks, “Why I left Twitter for Facebook” reinforced to me the staying power of Facebook (and inadvertently Twitter and Google Plus). [...]

  3. [...] to familiar platforms or reaching out across new ones however, it’s important to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works when crossing cultural and linguistic [...]