Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Facebooking My Twitter

by Sariah S. Wilson

I don't get it.

Facebook and Twitter that is - I don't get it.

As far as I can tell Facebook is this place where you have pictures and send snowballs and post comments on other people's pictures and snowballs. I also know that you have other Facebook friends.

For what purpose? What do you do with a Facebook account? I have one. My husband created it for me. I've just never, ever done anything with it. It's one of those things where I think that I don't have time to be updating and checking it constantly. And by the time I do figure out how to use it, Facebook will be the new MySpace and I'll have to learn all about the next new exciting and hot website.

So what do you do with your Facebook account? Please explain to me how/why it works, and what you find most useful/fun about it. I know it can be extremely addicting. When my 17-year-old sister came to see me in the hospital after my baby was born, she tried to see if she could use the nurse's computer in my room to access Facebook. I made her stop.

Twitter is the one that I can't wrap my mind around. 140 characters, right? On whatever you feel like writing about?

The thing I keep wondering is whether Twitter sends emails to your inbox. Because right now I have 14,000 unread emails (not a typo) from one Yahoo group I belong to that I don't want to get rid of because it's a historical group and all the information is way too valuable. And that's just in one folder of my inbox - I have like 20 different folders for different groups. That lets you know how much time I have to sift through emails. So if following someone's Twitter posts sends email to your inbox, I'll have to forget this phenomenon. Especially the people who Twitter every ten minutes about whether or not they like pancakes. Seriously?

Not to mention there are very few people in this world I can think of that I'd find interesting enough to want to read their random thoughts. I personally think that the limited characters, instead of producing haiku-like shots of brilliance, tend to dumb everything down. Or as Joel McHale on "The Soup" pointed out - we went from the poetry of "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" to the Twitter from astronaut Mike Massimino who said, "Launch was awesome!" (And then Joel McHale showed what the message would look like when the aliens finally landed - "Alienz, you guyz! LOL :-0")

Do you tweet on Twitter? Do you follow a lot of different people or a few? How do you read the messages? What benefit do you get from doing it? And can you chat back and forth with someone Twittering at the same time as you?

I'm not typically this much of a fogey, but when it comes to these social networking sites I just don't seem to grasp it. Please explain. Thank you.


At 6/21/2009 12:04 AM, Blogger Carol Brown said...

I don't tweet but I enjoy Facebook. It's a fun way to stay in touch with old and new friends, to find out what your kids are doing, and to stay connected with neighbors. There are too many junk posts, but there are also a lot of funny, smart ones, too. I feel at least 20 years younger being on Facebook.

At 6/21/2009 12:24 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I'm afraid I can't tell you anything about twitter. I am hiding from it for the nonce. As for facebook, it's been a necessary evil for me (thanks to my lil' McMish in the mission field) but other than than, I'm useless at that one too.

At 6/21/2009 1:44 AM, Blogger yellow m&m said...

I'll tell you about how I use twitter. Hope it helps.

Twitter only sends you emails when someone starts following you. For me, it's maybe 5 a week. But, it depends on how many people are interested in what you have to say. :)

I'm currently following about 300 people, and I need to unfollow some of them. Some people I know follow less than 20 people, others follow thousands (which seems incomprehensible to me).

I read the messages through an application called tweetdeck ( Others use other applications (Here's a good list of some to check out - I like tweetdeck because I can group people together depending on how I know them, why I'm following them, etc.

The benefit I find is mainly humor. Most of the people I follow are LDS, and are very funny in what they say. I follow some friends, but that's not my main use. I do follow cnn on twitter, and get some news, and that's good, too.

With chatting, there are two main options. The main one is the @ reply. If someone says something on twitter, and you want to comment to them about it, just put the @ and then their user name. They'll see it (even if they're not following you), and can respond back. This does show up in your main feed, so everyone who's following you can see it. The other option only works if you're following someone and they're following you back. You can Direct Message them. This is private, only between the two of you. It's still limited to 140 character though.

I hope I've answered some of your questions and not confused you. :D

At 6/21/2009 3:37 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

I don't do Twitter, but I love Facebook.

I don't like the phone. I never call anyone just to chat; I hardly even call my sister.

But Facebook makes it possible for me to communicate with friends & family without picking up the dreaded phone and in my own time. I keep in contact with my cousin who lives near NYC. Without Facebook, I'd never 'talk' to him. I wouldn't know about his awesome job with a labor union or the cool things he does in the city.

I get to see pics of my friends' kids. I know what my friends are up to without having to call them or look up their emails.

My favorite part-- I plan activities, play dates, outings, without ever picking up the phone. I just send them all Facebook messages.

At 6/21/2009 8:03 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Twitter hasn't really grabbed me, but facebook has become a (sadly) essential part of my life. I use it to keep in touch with people I otherwise don't keep in touch with. Old school friends, extended family . . . For instance, I put up pictures of my daughter's fifth birthday party last night, and friends and family who live too far away to see her often were able to witness the event in a way, without my having to develop and mail out pictures. I have many friends and family who share vital news (marriages, pregnancies, plans to move) via their status updates. I've found that if I don't check often I miss out on quite a bit.

It's kind of sad that people connect more via computers than in other ways, but since I was never good at those "other ways" anyway, I'm kind of glad to have it simplified and streamlined for me.

At 6/22/2009 9:54 AM, Anonymous Wm Morris said...

With all forms of social media (including blogging and listservs), what value you get out of it depends on two things:

1. The most important thing is the other people using it. Twitter is only useful if the folks you connect with on it (or in Twitter lingo -- the people you "follow") provide information or entertainment that adds something to your life. I run across at least 5 things every week that add value to my professional life, but that's because there are many other higher education pr/marketing types on Twitter.

2. The less important thing is the exact mode of interaction. That is, even if there is a community you want to interact with if the design of the social media platform doesn't work with the way you prefer to connect with and surf the internet, then don't worry about it.

At 6/22/2009 1:50 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I was on Twitter for about a week and felt it required too much effort on my part. Makes me sound lazy, but I'm actually currently juggling several different social networks and I have to maximize my efforts. I'm on Facebook and have gotten a lot of benefit from it. My book sales are better than they've ever been, I'm getting actual people showing up at events, and my name recognition has improved a lot. As an added bonus, I've reconnected with a lot of people I haven't seen in years and it's fun to hear what they're up to.

The main thing about using Facebook as a promotional tool is that you've got to be willing to "friend" people you don't know. That's how you spread the word about new books, etc - people who already know you already know you have a new book. So if you're hesitant to "friend" strangers, Facebook probably won't work for you as a promotional tool, but it's still way cool for friends and family.

At 6/22/2009 8:10 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I go to Facebook about once a week, sometimes less. It's cool on one level, but time consuming--as an author you can just create a fan page and send out updates.


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