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.
- #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 http://twitter.com/hypatiadotca . 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.
- 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 twitter.com/username”. 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.