Over the past two or three months, it seems that everyone I know from high school and college have discovered Facebook. I’m getting multiple friend requests per day. Actually, when I think about Facebook, it seems to work reverse-chronologically in terms of adoption. I first joined Facebook when they opened up to everyone and my initial group of friends on the service were people I knew personally who worked online as I do and who were also early adopters, as I am. Then, a larger group of people familiar with my work from Mahalo and TUAW and my blogging friended me, alongside several of my peers. The next group to start friending me were my friends from Graduate School. Then, slightly out of chronological order, my high school friends started finding me, shortly followed upon by my college friends, and there’s been a steady mix of both high school and college connections over the past several months. Is this a normal experience for most Facebook users who come from the online industries or did everyone in Mississippi just discover Facebook simultaneously and it’s a regional trend?
In any case, this influx of “lay people” who aren’t 100% plugged into social media has created some interesting collisions and discussions, including this humorous discussion between myself and two of my good friends from college, who happen to be sisters:
I feed all my Twitter messages into my Facebook status via Facebook’s Twitter app and this is clearly confusing some of the people who have friended me on Facebook, because they don’t use Twitter and it strikes them as a foreign language of sorts. They’re not familiar with the terminology and learning to read sentences mangled to fit into 140 characters or less. I defined Twitter to them thusly:
Twitter is a 140 character limited messaging service that works over the web / via SMS. A tweet is a single message on twitter. Here’s my twitter account for example: http://twitter.com/cksthree Anyone who wants to tell me something on twitter can say: @cksthree hey man what’s up? and i’ll see that message to me. if they want to make it a privatemessage they can type “d cksthree what the crack is up with Ashley and Robin, yo?” and I’ll receive that message privately. It’s like instant messaging but not as time sensitive and as if you’re talking to the person you’re chatting with in a large group of people. It’s great for if you have a question and you have a lot of followers. Generally if I ask questions, I get several intelligent answers by asking them to the close to 1000 people following me.
I think this definition is okay. There’s nothing phenomenal about it. However, I’m finding the odd collisions that are occurring between my Twitter audience and my Facebook audience interesting. I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t use Facebook, or I wouldn’t have started using Facebook, as much as I do if it weren’t for the Twitter integration. I’m primarily a Twitter user, and I have good conversations on both platforms now thanks to my Twitter feed going steadily (more or less) into my Facebook. The everyday chatter of what I’m doing and the minutia of my daily life seems to perform best with my high school and college friends who know me as C.K., Art and English major, funny, smart guy that they used to hang out with. Twitter is also syndicated into the sidebar of my blog and that’s the way my parents tend to keep up with what I’m up to and my Dad is always mentioning “I saw on your blog that you were…” when it was actually what I’d said on Twitter that syndicated to my blog. And, more often than not, this type of minutia is exactly the type of thing that many of those who follow me on Twitter are disinterested in. Nevertheless, Twitter is the broadcast tool for that information and it does serve a purpose on a personal level to people who know me, or have known a past me, at a particular personal level.
Now the flip side of this is that I’m often talking about things that are very specific to gadgets and online technology. All this goes over great with my Twitter audience, but on Facebook all my high school and college friends respond with comments like the above “What are you talking about?” and are no doubt reminded of how odd and peculiar they found me at times in high school and college (and most likely, since most of them are still in the South and I now live in New York, there is probably a very small percentage of them who think something like “Yeah, C.K. never did really belong in the South. He doesn’t even have an accent!”; note: I’ve actually had similar comments said to my face in the past).
So it’s an odd disconnect where the communications going out on both platforms have somewhat of a divergence between what they want to hear and what they don’t want to hear from me, although both groups want to hear from me, supposedly, or they wouldn’t be following me.
What do you think? Have you found similar sorts of conversations and trends between Twitter and Facebook?