Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Day My Twitter Surpassed My Facebook

My experience with social media follows a pattern:

1) I create an account with a social networking site
2) I sit on the sidelines and observe for awhile until I get a good feel of what it's all about.
3) Then I jump in with both feet.

It happened with Facebook -- I joined in late 2007 but didn't post anything to my Wall until January 2009 (first Facebook status update, 1/7/2009: "Phil is trying on his new boots"). A few months after that initial post, I created a Twitter account, sat around and watched what this microblogging thing was all about, and since then I've tweeted more than 10,000 times.

Once I started working each site in earnest, I picked up friends/followers. But since I found Facebook first, I always had more Facebook friends than Twitter followers. Until recently.

Over the past couple of years I've gotten into the habit of livetweeting TV -- mostly NFL football games and The Bachelor. This is not necessarily something I'm proud of (I guess maybe it's a creative outlet for my snarky side?), but it's caused me to gain a lot of new Twitter followers. And a few days ago my number of Twitter followers, for the first time, surpassed my number of Facebook friends.

For some reason this bothered me.

I had a tough time putting my finger on exactly why, but then I figured it out. Twitter is much more anonymous. While I can say that I've, at worst, held at least one conversation with virtually every one of my Facebook friends, many of my Twitter followers are people I don't know at all. And if someone wants to follow you on Twitter you really can't prevent it, outside of outright blocking them, which I've had to do from time to time because someone who followed me began posting very inappropriate tweets.

Sometimes I feel like Twitter is the casual sex of social media, while Facebook is more of a long-term relationship.

Now that's not to say Facebook doesn't have melodrama or awkwardness to it. Four of my Facebook friends are cats, and I have a handful of Facebook friends who, sadly, are deceased. Also I've occasionally defriended people on Facebook (not often; I can count the Facebook friends I've unfriended on two hands, and each time the offender did something that REALLY pissed me off. But there have been times when I've had to say, I can't be Facebook friends with this person anymore).

I also have some Twitter followers whom I would really like to get to know better. They seem like genuinely cool people. Often they live in another part of the country and it would be difficult to hang with them. Sometimes I wish I could be on Facebook with them too.

I do have some people with whom I'm on both Facebook and Twitter (and Instagram too, which I've also recently discovered).

Maybe that's what I hope for long-term -- a melting pot of my social media.


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