25 November 2011

Facebook and Twitter integration

If used properly, Facebook and Twitter can bring a large amount of traffic to your website.

Facebook and Twitter both have options to integrate one site with another. This means that your
  • Tweets from Twitter can appear as wall posts on your Facebook page or profile. Click here to do so.
  • Your Facebook wall's posts of your profile or page can appear as tweets on your Twitter profile.Click here to go to this app. (You must be logged into Facebook to see this app.)

This article is about the advantages and disadvantages of using this service.

Advantages of integrating Twitter and Facebook

1) Saves time

Every blogger needs to save time. This application is a great tool to do so. Tweet the link of your new blog post on Twitter and it automatically appears on your Facebook wall. You are saved the time of going onto Facebook, entering your email id, entering your password, going to your blog's profile, clicking on the wall link ate top-left corner, pasting the link there and then clicking share. Seven steps are saved!

37.26 seconds were needed in these seven steps when I measured by my stopwatch. And that too when I entered everything correctly. Quite often it happens with me that I misspell a letter - I'm sure that happens often with you too. Time will exceed then.

Now 37.26 seconds may not sound much but suppose you publish one post everyday then that amounts to 18.63 minutes per month and 3.726 hours an year!

Obviously you may be using a faster computer or you may not post everyday but the above discussion is a sort of an average. Add or subtract some time to the number above as suits you.

The gist is that you will save a lot of time if you'll use this application.

2) It looks professional

When you update your Facebook status using Twitter a small pigeon (Twitter's logo) appears in all such posts. This gives a professional look to your Facebook page and people who don't know how easy it is to achieve this will think you are technologically professional.

Updating Facebook via Twitter. Note the blue pigeon - Twitter's logo.

Even people who would know the mechanism will find the look appealing.

I couldn't think of any other advantage of this integration. If you know more please mention it in the comments.

Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Darren Rowse - none of these masters of blogging use these applications. The editor-in-chief of Lifehacker, Adam Pash was updating his Facebook page via Twitter but now he too stopped it. (You can see some of his old Facebook status updates with the Twitter's pigeon in the preceding link.)Why? Because the disadvantages outnumber the advantages.

Disadvantages of integrating Twitter and Facebook

1) No media

If you share a link on Facebook that contains some media like a video or an image, then that media automatically appears in the shared link. But if you are updating Facebook via Twitter then this functionality is lost.

2) Same link, different share

If you share a link on Facebook, there is no need to add a description as Facebook automatically picks up the media and some text from the concerned link. On the other hand if you are tweeting the link on Twitter you must add some description to it as Twitter captures nothing with the link.

Therefore the same link should be shared differently on the two sites. Integration will share it in only one way on both the sites.

3) Shrinking on Twitter

A tweet can be only 140 characters long. So if you are updating Twitter via Facebook and you post something larger than 140 characters then the extra characters will be automatically deleted from the tweet. You will get no notification or warning of any sort that you have exceeded the limit. Instead a link will appear on the tweet that will direct the clicker to the respective Facebook's post.

Similarly if you are using Facebook via Twitter, you can only type a 140 characters long post. Not larger.

4) You cannot read replies

You can only post via the said applications. You cannot read how your followers are responding to it.

For e.g. suppose I made a post on Facebook which appeared as a tweet on Twitter. Suppose a person on Twitter gave an @ reply to that tweet. In order to know about it I'll have to log into my Twitter account.

Similar is the case of the other app.

5) Different purposes

Facebook and Twitter were invented for two different purposes. Facebook's main idea was to stay in touch with friends and family while Twitter on the other hand was invented for people to share website links - which gives it a more business oriented look.

This means what may be appropriate for your Twitter followers may not be appropriate for your Facebook friends/fans and vice-versa.

6) Less user response

Darren Rowse says in this post on Goggle+ that readers tend to engage more with your posts if you manually post them. Automatic systems result in a lesser user response.

Though he tested for different systems (he was updating Facebook via NetworkedBlogs) but I think the result is applicable here for our present discussion.

Darren Rowse has not provided any specific reason for the effect.

I think the reason maybe that when you don't post something manually and use automated systems to do the job, the site's servers may take that as an attempt to spamming. And hence your post may not get as many privileges as manual posting may have got.

So this ends our discussion. I've mentioned both the advantages and disadvantages of integrating Facebook and Twitter. Judge for yourself will it be appropriate for you to integrate them? Obviously the answer will vary from person to person.

If you ask me then I was using both the apps before but then I discontinued.

In case I've missed a point please mention it in the comments.

Update - There is a Facebook app named Selective Tweets which enables you to post selective tweets on Facebook. This means not all of your tweets will appear on Facebook, but only those that you choose to end with #fb (or #FB or #Fb or #fB). This feature eliminates most of the disadvantages discussed above. 

But be warned. Selective Tweets usually functioned properly for me but it failed to work in one or two cases.   
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