I’ve been watching the debate about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with interest – mainly because I’m an avid user of the first and last. But I do use Facebook too. I like a comment that Facebook is about the past, Twitter is about the present and LinkedIn about the future!
Facebook is good for finding old friends and relatives – finding old school friends etc. Although I suppose if you are over forty you are more likely to use Friends Re-United, but the concept still holds good.
Twitter when its good is very much about the present, what I’m doing now, what we are doing now or what the world is doing now. No one is interested in what you said yesterday – it’s lost out there in the clouds somewhere.
LinkedIn at the end of the day is about future work and business opportunities; even the group comments and debates have an edge to them which is around building your image as a potential employee or business partner – there aren’t many jokes! Increasingly Facebook and Twitter are about marketing but that is different from the professional focus of LinkedIn.
You can, of course, use all three for finding old and potential new friends and for keeping in touch. Personal and business email addresses change but many people make sure they update their email address on LinkedIn, for example. But friendship depends upon some degree of self exposure and for me that is the trouble with Facebook. Facebook becomes interesting when you give just a little too much of yourself away – the tag on the photo at the office party from hell, for example. I keep up my Facebook account but it has got real potential to make me squirm and I have joined some rather odd groups in my time on the spur of the moment. I’ve not got round to leaving them cos its all too complicated. LinkedIn should keep you on the professional straight and narrow on the disclosure front, so you may make business contacts but I’m not convinced you will make many friends.
Oddly enough although I’m fairly new to Twitter I have a feeling that it probably has the strongest case in terms of making on-line friends. There is a limit to how much you can expose to the world in a relatively short message and although a picture will build up, it will be in real time – just like in the off line world, face to face!
It will be useful to see whether I think the same in a few months time. In the meantime I shall go on tweeting on Twitter (find me as WWisewolf) and networking on LinkedIn. I suspect its going to be Facebook that goes by the wayside soon. Except, of course, for the odd check up to make sure there are no embarrassing tags in photos I’d rather forget.