Okay I am going to admit right off the bat that I am horribly biased in this review. You see I Heart Twitter hardcore. Like almost as much as I love Willie Nelson’s Limited edition Ben and Jerry’s Peach Cobbler ice cream - yeah, that much. And I hate Facebook with a passion that can only be described by the late great Madeline Kahn
MySpace used to be in the top position of my worst social networking sites list. But really well, it’s been a while since MySpace has been relevant to anyone looking to do anything other then market sexy Vampires to 11 year olds. But at the height of my annoyance with MySpace it never ever pissed me off as much as Facebook does.
See I use social networking as a marketing tool. I use it to connect with fans of my art and share my art with new people who might become fans. My ultimate goal is to build my fanbase and have this translate into sales. It has. It does. Social Marketing is very effective. And done right it feels much more honest than traditional marketing techniques. (More on that in another post.)
I have made friends via social networking too. And these sites do come in handy for keeping up with friends and acquaintances who I might not know enough to jingle on the phone regularly but who I nevertheless enjoy as a human beings and don’t mind one little bit hearing what they named their new cat. I work from home - it gets lonely during the day. It’s nice to have a little human connection over lunch.
But I’m sick to death of Facebook. Facebook is a free for all of false intimacy, and even forced intimacy with people that aren’t even on my @#$ing friends list. Almost everyone there is just gorging themselves on empty calories - scooping giant handfuls out of the same big bowl filled with all the worst sugary neon colored cereals that have ever been pushed on you. None of them wash their hands either. And they chew with their mouths open.
This is kind of behavior would not translate into successful REAL WORLD interactions. Anyone behaving this way in REAL LIFE would quickly have NO FRIENDS - certainly not a Facebook count of 563. Whenever I’m in doubt as to how to act on the internet I just put it in REAL WORLD TERMS. (More on Social Networking Etiquette in another post. In a nutshell if you wouldn’t do it in REAL LIFE - don’t do it on the internet. )
So let me see if I can put this in real world terms. Twitter is like a cube farm in an office building. You are surrounded by co-workers that are there more or less for the same purpose - you know some better then others - and some you are even good friends with. During the course of your day something funny/irritating/interesting/informative/geeky happens and you mumble about it to yourself in your cube. But you mumble it audibly enough that the others around you in the cube farm can hear. You do this on purpose to add interest to your boring day. Your fellow cube mates that are within earshot comment back to you with a variety of things.
Perhaps another person in the farm who is out of earshot of your original mumble hears one of your friends responding to you and asks what that was all about (clicking the "in reply to link") and then having been filled in - (following the tweet thread to see what the hubbub was all about) they then feel free to comment to you as well. Perhaps you have a witty exchange and build a little connection and then feel free to count them as another workplace friend. Lovely.
Facebook is not like this. Facebook is the obnoxious co-worker who accosts you as you come in the office in the morning. They hover over you as you get your desk ready for the day eating some kind of trendy muffin spilling crumbs all over you and your workspace. They comment on the photo on your desk of your niece and call over their Buddy from billing to come take a look. Before you know it the Buddy from billing is snapping a shot of your nieces embarrassing 2nd grade toothless grin with his phone and sending it to his brother in law who sees it and makes some messed up comment about knowing a good Orthodontist. Buddy from billing then shares the comment with you and the entire cube farm and you are forced to put your niece’s picture in your desk to stave off a 2 days worth of working slobs who totter up to your floor during their break for a moment of workplace levity at your family’s expense.
As far as just straight up marketing and brand building - Twitter has gotten me really valuable connections personal and professional. I've sold a ton of art because of Twitter - including some pricey originals. I've gotten opportunities and set up artistic collaborations. Facebook has given me nothing but grief and given people with no professionalism far to much access to my time.
I said the following on my Facebook status yesterday. "On Twitter when someone spews at me it’s happening across the street. On Facebook it feels like they took a crap on my living room floor. I can handle across the street - I can’t handle my living room floor."
Yeah I know I could make two accounts. One personal and one public. No thanks I’m not trying to spend more time there. And I know I don’t have to use it and many people like it and it works well for them. Yep - happy for the people who like it. Yep I don’t have to use it. So I pretty much don’t anymore.
But it’s still out there.
And that frightens me.