Tweets? In /my/ Facebook?

It’s more likely than you think!

While some people are very frustrated by the occasional spamminess of Twitter -> Facebook posting, and others posit that Facebook will eventually kill Twitter because the “conversation moves there”, I just like being able to update both places at once and don’t really care to make predictions either way.

Instead I want to post a quick field guide to Twitter for Facebook users.  Not because they should particularly go ahead and sign up, but to make clearer what all the @this and #that’s crapping up their news feeds are.  Because they do tend to open dialogs and conversations, but can be confusing sometimes too – I definitely think about how something will work on my FB feed before posting to Twitter.

The basics

  • #hashtags are probably the least intuitive thing for non-Twitter-users.  They are basically keywords which Twitter users track threads on Twitter Search.  Twitter used to have a “track” feature which made following them way less of a pain, but it got killed when they had uptime and reliability issues last spring; the tools adapted, and now some have built in search.
  • Mentions of @people by their @nickname.  Facebook doesn’t link these @names to the appropriate profile, but if you want to see who the heck @hypatiadotca is, just go to .  People at least usually have pictures, if not their real names, on their Twitter profiles which helps sort out name->nick mapping issues 🙂
  • Retweets, or RT, are just reposts from another user’s feed.  These are somewhat like the ping or trackbacks of the blogging world.  There’s no standard syntax for these though RT seems to be preferred for sheer concision.

The annoyances

  • tw-words: tweets, tweeple, twits, twitterati… the only ones anyone really uses are “tweet” to describe a message on Twitter, and twits to describe users.  The latter is hilarious, all the other portmanteaus are just irritating.  If you actually want to know, there’s a list of what they all mean, supposedly.
  • @replies: Facebook users, in theory, when the Twitter/Facebook app is working correctly, shouldn’t see these as they are filtered.  Twitter conversations flow weirdly enough on the site itself or clients, let alone Facebook where one side may not be cross-posting their feed.  The app occasionally misbehaves, however, and I’m sorry for all the times I’ve crapped up your feed with @replies.
  • lack of @username linking: I really wish either FB or Twitter would just do something like “if app posting to status == Twitter, replace all @username references with a link to”.  Sigh.  A corollary to this is that unless users have added the Twitter app box to their Boxes page, there’s no way to find out what their Twitter username is.  Grump.
  • overall volume: yes, some twits are spammy.  There’s even a measure for it, the “scoble“, which is how annoying a person is compared to Robert Scoble who tweets approximately a hojillion times per hour.  Consider turning down spammy users in Facebook’s settings via the “see less from this user” option.

I’ll of course be posting this on Twitter, which posts to my Facebook, and would be interested in any other weird “gotchas” that Facebook users have experienced.


5 thoughts on “Tweets? In /my/ Facebook?

  1. I had it running for a while but turned it off.

    My Facebook friends and Twitter followers are two pretty different crowds. Worse, a lot on Facebook didn’t even realize that the updates were coming from Twitter. After a few techy tweets, someone even posted: “I haven’t understood any of your recent status updates.”

    As a result, I started second guessing myself every time I was about to post to Twitter – having this kind of hangup doesn’t make for the best Twitter experience.

    Any tips on how to get around this?

  2. Hey Andrew,

    I tend to post the same kinds of things to Twitter as I used to post to my Facebook status… just more often. I have a lot of non-techies on my Facebook account as well as on Twitter, so I just figure they will ignore the nerdier posts 🙂

    Not sure what to suggest in your case; different audiences are just different sometimes :/


  3. The one thing I like about FB over TW is the requirement to have friend requests approved. TW has a lot of TWATS (People who follow you just to get you to look at their profile. You can tell because they are following 1000s of people. Who on earth can read that many posts?!?!) and then there are the TWITTERWHORES (people who try to build up followers to fill their narcissistic tendencies). Either way, I wish something could be done about them. I don’t often have unknown people adding me as a friend on facebook.

    I also wish that twitter had real thread support for DMs !

  4. Ugh, thread support for DM’s would be so nice. I kinda hate them and try to move conversation to email or IM right away.

    I consider the way following (not friending, remember 🙂 ) works on Twitter to be a feature rather than a bug. It’s explicitly a different social context than on Facebook.

  5. The best way to describe Twitter to Facebook users is that essentially Twitter is your Facebook status.

    Perhaps the easiest way for FBs to do Twitter initially is to use the Twitter Facebook app which sends your Twitter post to your FB status update.

    Eventually you will build a Twitter community just your presence there. There is an option which won’t send a Twitter post that has the @ reply at the start of it so as not to confuse FB friends.

    Occasionally I will post directly in FB if my comment is more personal. Other times I will pop over to Facebook and delete some updates if they seem out of context.

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