What’s the difference between a facebook status and a Twitter status?

I still have a bad taste in my mouth from having joined Twitter. When I "join" or commit to something, I think about what I am going to give up in my life for that thing and whether it is really worth it. Where will the time come from? What won't I get to do because of it? And how can it come back and bite me in the a$$? Look at that, I am still uncomfortable writing naughty words. If you only heard me in my off hours. Why is the interwebz so judgmental? Anyway.

My LinkedIn account has just become a big database of people that I am willing to assist and who are willing to assist me.

Facebook is a collection of people I knew or know, not necessarily deeply but I've met them and I wasn't completely turned off by something that they did or said  (hey, there's a little ego boost FB friends! Hee!). Except one ex-boyfriend who has to be the outlier in my "all my ex-boy fiends turned out to be nice guys" theory. I'm still exploring the psychology of un-friending someone who once meant something to me.  Don't worry, he won't find this. He's too busy telling everyone how great he is. But back to my FB pals, they are people that know something about me, either professionally or personally.

Twitter...people who have agreed to "follow" me. I'm not understanding exactly how Twittering would be any different than updating my facebook status. I have boundary issues anyway. I am an over sharer. And because of where I work and who knows me, I am careful(ish) about my FB status updates. I guess my question is this: what additional content would I share on Twitter that I wouldn't share with the people I know least as facebook friends (which I am saying are professional acquaintances)? The boundary line appears to be the same. So Twittering means that I share status updates with my "followers". Yes, here is some kool-aid...I shall lead you to Shangri-La, my people. Just walk this way <and then I make all the people behind me sashay and shantay just like me>. But the Twitter peeps can't see my photos and the fact that my best friend in life truly should be Tori Spelling, just like I always thought. So facebook is like Twitter plus? Is that what this means?

I imagine that some people feel extra free to share with people they don't know. For me, it's the opposite. I always feel like people will make the connection between me and what I do. Working at Microsoft, I am expected to have a personality and opinions. But would I share details of my (ahem) "private" life? There's an false sense of comfort that social networking brings; people say things online they would never say in person. Why is that? Uh, would I want to look back on all my revealing posts in 20 years? Hmm. Looking back on college now hurts a little. With a little funny on top. And a sprinkling of irony. And beer. What was I thinking? Am I going to look back on my blogging and facebooking and Twittering and think the same? Ugh.

If I had a huge stack of money, decided to tell the world to bite me and had no worries of security, then maybe...maybe, I would be a more open. Like some people are; sharing details of body rashes (no, I don't) , cranky lovers (not recently), what they *really* think about people (not you of course).  I have some stories to tell, but I'm not going to tell them.

All that not withstanding, what, exactly, is the delta between my blog posts, my facebook status updates and this whole Twitter thing I may or may not get myself into? I am not doing the whole "What do my readers want to know about me" barf. I already know that you don't give a rip about what I am having for lunch. I am asking what people want to know of anyone, where are the boundaries and how do they differ based on different tools and relatively similar audiences? And are people expected to make it extra "transparent" when it's truly only 140 characters?

What say you?

Comments (9)

  1. Lukas Triska says:

    I agree with you. I still have not figured out what is the big deal about Twitter. I see more use for FB then for Twitter. Can you say something meaningful in 140 characters or less for all your friends/followers? Does everybody need to know what you just had for breakfast? Do you have to let everyone know what you are doing and where you are every 30 minutes, really? Bright site is if you are into texting then with Twitter you can’t beat the price you just have to find somebody that will read your tweets. :o)

  2. Marcus says:

    Interesting question.  I started doing two separate status updates in FB and in Twitter.  Now I’ve decided to make Twitter my "master updater" and have those updates appear in FB too.  But I still do some extra stuff in FB that I don’t reflect back in Twitter.  You could find yourself in an endless loop of updates updating each other.  🙂

  3. shelbygrrl says:

    Great post! It was thought-provoking.  I’d say Twitter is to facebook as cocktail party chatter is to phone conversations.  At a party, as on Twitter, you should only share interesting experiences, quirky thoughts and useful information with people you may or may not know, keeping in mind it can be heard and repeated by everyone.  

  4. Hiya!  🙂

    Haven’t posted in a bit but still appreciate your posts.

    I’m with Marcus on this one. We both use Twitter to Evangelize for Microsoft. He does a great job with Twitter.

    You should give Brizzly a try for your Twitter account.

    Can also use it for FB but I only use it for Twitter because it enhances it so well.

     All the best,

       Mark Wisecarver

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Lukas – I think one of the keys is to not share that boring stuff on either tool. Oh, the breakfast thing….and the airport gate thing. It makes me worried for humanity.

    Marcus – for now, that is my plan as well. I added the Twitter application in FB. So technicall updating Twitter feed on a tool on FB that also updates my FB status. I am going to take things on a post-by-post basis to determine if there’s anything icky about it going on both. Though I onl;y have 2 Twitter followers so I could say some crazy stuff on there and nobody would know. That feels kind of liberating.

    Shelbygrrl – great analogy. The fact that people can decide to follow you without you "friending" them is akin to them eavesdropping.

    Mark Wisecarver – my personal and MS stuff is all part of the same thing (seems that being normal, funny and transparent makes people feel all warm and fuzzy about Microsoft), so there is less of a clear disctinction. You definitely bring up a good point. I could have a Twitter account just for work stuff. You guys could build a following that way, but not me for my target audience. I couldn’t keep up with the technical conversation 🙂 You gave me something to think about.

  6. Prats says:

    I think that there is a huge difference between facebook statuses and twitter. You know you have outlined the major difference yourself here. As you said FB is generally the collection of people who knew/know you and in some way connected with you in real world. So whatever you broadcast is seen in the light of how you are as a person.

    On the other hand twitter doesn’t divulge any information about you apart from your 140 Character biography and anyone who thinks your status has something worth reading or value adding would follow you and twitter.

    So the twitter status can be, I just read this article and I think it was a good one. Or your 2 cents on whatever you think and willing to share with the World in general.

    On the other hand you dont expect FB status to be of value add in content, they should be value adding in enriching relationships and keep you connected.

    Over a period of time you might find people on twitter who would graduate from twitter and feature in your FB, as the next level of connect and I would like add here that I absolutely do not support people who map all their twitter updates with FB and loosing the objective of the two different platform and their capabilities.

  7. I’m a tech guy, so I use Twitter and FB for different audiences. FB is personal, for family and friends (some of whom may overlap with Twitter, but for me that’s not a lot). I update about my kids, hobbies, etc on FB. Twiter is for professional purposes for me, I try to tweet mostly about technical stuff and rarely anything personal.

    I know some of the techie people I follow tweet a ton of personal stuff in between the technical things, and I only keep following them if it adds value for me.


  8. FB vs. Twitter – People have been saying that Twitter is the closest thing to the idea of a "Public Inbox", meaning that without really knowing someone, you would be able to see their conversations (insights) with others and that could be very interesting!

    Not that people are this open (yet), but imagine if you could follow the thought process of a decision a big company is making due to their Twitter updates. Of course, for competitive reasons, this would be silly, but you get the idea!

    The fun part is figuring out how to get your point across in 140 characters or less!

    I can’t seem to find you, but I’m @selvarajah!

  9. kelly says:

    only just read this post, so i’m a little late to the party, sorry!

    i think the question should be ‘difference between facebook and twitter’… for me it’s not so much about the status update.

    i find the difference to be (the way most individuals use it) that facebook is a network of people you already know.  your highschool people, your family, your current friends etc etc.  whereas twitter is more about engaging with new people on things you find interesting.  you follow people, converse with them, and i actually think it’s more of a relationship ‘enabler’ than any other social network so far (fb, linkedin…)

    of course you can use either channel from a branding perspective, which is different again.  reach and availability and option for two way conversation is the main thing in any case.

    interesting to see where it all goes anyway 🙂

Skip to main content