Concerns for public record keeping, unknowing how to search for criticism, and the complexity of Facebook’s user interface are three reasons why Twitter will beat out Facebook among government agencies, opines Adriel Hampton.
If you’ve got a wide open Facebook page and somebody wants to spam you all day long, you need a strategy to deal with that. Left alone, it’s going to muck up your page. But with Twitter, it’s easy to ignore hostile or spammy comments.
I left a comment and explained why my initial months as a councilor will involve more online engagement with constituents on Facebook than Twitter. Fact is I know more faces on Facebook than I do on Twitter. I don’t mean faces of people I met via Facebook. I mean people who I’ve known for months or years before I knew they had a Facebook account. We had, or have, a pre-existing relationship, external to Facebook. We don’t have that relationship on Twitter, mainly because they don’t have Twitter accounts.
When I think to the tweeps who I know in the light I know my Facebook friends, I am reminded of Mike Volpe, Meggan Levene, Alison Berenson, and Howard Kaplan. Of the approximate 50 million Twitter users around the globe, I only know four outside the Twitter bubble. That’s key to any discussion of networking, whether online or off. If you can’t place a face (or a customer purchase number or a social security number or any other piece of unique identifying information) to a name, then the name is a number. Who wants to be a number? Who doesn’t want to connect with people they know and can identify as someone beyond an @ sign? Think about that for a moment.
It’s gratifying to read Vanessa Grigoriadis’ spread in Vanity Fair about beautiful tweeting women but the article’s takeaway is stupid, focusing on the popularity contest of being someone’s follower to the point the “twilebrity” is famous because she has followers:
[Sarah] Evans has 33,596 followers, a lofty total (slightly more than California lifecaster Sarah Austin) but far lower than, for example, that of the laid-back Amy Jo Martin, 30, a marketing executive with 1.2 million followers, who taught Shaquille O’Neal to tweet (“We just put his big thumbs on his Shaqberry, and he got really into it!”). Elfin redhead Felicia Day, 30, a geek-Webisode actress, has drawn 1.6 million followers for her tweets. “Doors were closed to us before,” says Day. “Now the tools for success have been democratized. It’s just me and whoever wants to talk to me, wherever they are in the world.”
How were doors closed? I remember sending self-addressed stamped envelopes to authors and actors when I was a teen, asking for their autograph; and I usually received a reply. Sure, the internet has helped bring people closer together, especially with the real-time nature of social networking sites, but let’s not kid ourselves that the doors were not open before. They merely looked different.
With each passing day, I am fed up by the mainstream media’s insistence to game the Twitter system. If you think Felicia Day has 1.6 million followers who truly care what she writes, you are mistaken because follower numbers are a farce. I yearn for the day when the “follower” number is hidden from the world, known only to the person following and the person with that follower. Pipe dream?
To be fair, Facebook publicizes the number of fans and followers one has, too; but Facebook isn’t compared to prepubescent boys glazing over the high school cheeerleader squad as some relate to Twitter. Read that VF article to see what I mean.
So, where do I go from here? My path is clear. It’s time to take a break.
British actor Stephen Fry wrote a valediction on his blog this week that he is taking a Twitter sabbatical for several months to focus on writing a book.
Some people can write with ease in whatever circumstances they find themselves. Up a tree, on a bus, in a log cabin, a steamy-windowed café or a tropical beach. Some don’t mind noise, distraction or a broken up day. I, unhappily, am not made of this material. I need peace, absolute peace, an empty diary and zero distraction. I enter a kind of writing purdah, an eremitical seclusion in which there is just me, a keyboard and abundant cups of coffee, all in a room whose curtains have been drawn against the light.
…All this is a way of saying, of course, that my twitter stream will dry up for that period. No doubt this will come as a relief to some, but I am not so sunk in false modesty as to be unaware that there are loyal followers who will emit long, loud wails of “Noooooooo!” and who will feel pained and dispirited . But I hope they will understand that this is a) imperative and b) temporary. I shall return.
Jeremiah Owyang, a former Forrester Research analyst, knows this well. He stayed away from Twitter for nearly a month nearly a year ago.
There’s a condition known by prisoners that get comfortable with conditions that return even after they are released, I’m sure they go back to tell the other inmates of “life on the outside”. It’s true my friends, there’s a very large world out there that the digital obsessed forget about…. When I watched what was happening on twitter from afar, I realized more than ever how much of the data that was created was pure noise… I can’t step away from Twitter forever, as my clients are there, and this is a tool that I cover as an analyst, but I encourage you to try stepping away, refresh your mind, and come back more focused, I sure did.
My last Twitter message will remain my last until I decide I am refreshed enough to return. There’s much in the offline world I miss doing; and if the past 24 hours are any indication, this is a good choice. I thought about whether or not I should blog about my Twitter decision, but what the heck. My blogging isn’t going away and this is where I can share my thoughts about social media strategies such as this.