Over the past few weeks or so, it has felt like Twitter is in the air. Obviously the 140-or-less service has been huge for some time now—duh—but lately it feels like every link I click takes me to an article or blog post about the best feeds, or exactly what to do, or, perhaps more importantly, what not to do.
First I read author Allison Winn Scotch’s blog post on how some authors annoy her with their self-promotion. Which led me to writer/blogger Nina Badzin’s list of Twitter do’s and don’ts. Then there was Time magazine’s recent list of the best Twitter feeds. Some of my favorites, including Mindy Kaling and Neil Patrick Harris were included…while others (ahem, R.L. Stine) had me sprinting to hit the Follow button.
When it comes to social media and connecting with other people, here’s my take: Facebook helps me connect with people I do know, Twitter helps me connect with people I don’t.
I am happy to “like” something or someone I don’t know on Facebook. I “like” authors and books and blogs and companies. But I am loath to “friend” a complete stranger. Something about it just feels, to me, a bit off. As if I’m creepily begging someone I don’t know to be my best buddy. (That said, when someone I don’t know friends me I almost always accept.) And even when I do become Facebook friends with someone I don’t know well, their status and photo updates rarely teach me about who they are, just what they did last weekend. I like Facebook for keeping track of my cross-country friends, who I can’t talk to every day or even every week, and for hunting down long-lost acquaintances. It lets me feel like I still know what’s new with them.
With Twitter, on the other hand, I feel like I can get to know someone. I may even go so far as to say I’ve made (virtual) friends through the service. A 140-character limit forces you to get to the heart of your message, and a personality often shines through more in a short quip than a long essay. Twitter feels conversational, and I have absolutely no qualms about following people I don’t know personally. That’s what it’s all about.
Lately, I’ve been focusing mostly on Twitter. (Follow me!) It seems a more acceptable forum for which to do the kind of social media connecting I’m interested in—namely to share links, comment on pop culture, follow interesting people and meet blog readers. I pretty much use Twitter as a place to share the random thoughts I’d reveal to my BFF if she were sitting right next to me while I’m watching TV. (Thus you may notice I do a large majority of tweeting at night, when TV commentary is overloading my brain and no one’s around to to share it with.)
For example, this tweet from Tuesday night when I was up too late and somehow found myself watching—stop judging me!—All About Aubrey (it was late, I was desperate, I loved Making The Band…. I have no excuse): “Why does Aubrey O’Day keep saying on her show that she wants to be anorexic? Probably not the best choice of words.” No joke, I was watching that show and after the second time she referenced trying to act like “a good anorexic girl,” I looked around my living room for someone, anyone, to stare at in disbelief. Was this actually happening? Was Oxygen really airing it? But alas, there was no one to share in my horror, so I went to the Tweeple.
So that’s why I’m into Twitter these days. It’s most definitely no substitute for a BFF, but in the moments when you need to voice some snippeted pop culture outrage, or ask a question, or share your new favorite YouTube video, and your pals aren’t around, Twitter’s a decent ear.
Are you on Twitter? Which do you like better in the Twitter vs. Facebook debate? Which do you think is better for connecting?