The other day in a SMEMchat we debated (briefly) the pros and cons of cross-posting to Twitter and Facebook, particularly the practice of posting to Twitter from Facebook–not necessarily dual posting from a third party application such as Hootesuite or Tweetdeck. I recalled reading that this was problematic in a scholarly article by Axel Bruns, et al (see page 12). They were writing about QPS Media (yes, I know everyone is a little tired of me bringing them up) during the flood event of January, 2011. They stated in the report:
Indeed, the social media use of several of these organisations underwent a rapid development process as the emergency unfolded; this is best illustrated using the example of the official Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Initially, QPS had mainly shared its own advisories and news updates through its Facebook page, with messages automatically crossposted to Twitter. This was problematic for a number of reasons, however: first, the lower 140 character limit for messages on Twitter, compared to Facebook, caused several of these crossposted messages to be truncated and thus unusable (especially when embedded hyperlinks were broken in the process); additionally, this also meant that users on Twitter may first have had to navigate from Twitter to Facebook, to see the full, original message, and then to follow any embedded links to their eventual destination; and even this may only have been possible for users who already had Facebook accounts.
Further, for reasons of site design, Facebook messages are more difficult to share with a larger number of users than those on Twitter, where a simple click of the ‘retweet’ button passes on an incoming message to all of one’s followers; and similarly, ongoing conversations are more difficult to manage on Facebook – where the amount of commentary attached to each of the QPS’s posts was rapidly swamping important information – than on Twitter; indeed, Facebook knows no equivalent to the concept of the hashtag, which allows a large number of users to conduct an open, ongoing, public discussion centred around a common topic. These shortcomings were quickly (and courteously) explained to the QPS media staff by a number of vocal Twitter users, and the QPS used its @QPSmedia Twitter account prominently throughout the rest of the flood crisis.
I have also heard Shayne Adamski, the Senior Manager of Digital Engagement Public Affairs Division, Office of External Affairs at FEMA speak several times and mention that they too craft messages specifically for each platform, for a myriad of reasons. He graciously agreed to an interview and in a follow-up email he stated:
“When it comes to using social media sites to communicate and have a conversation, we don’t write one message and then post it on both Twitter and Facebook. We write our message for the platform we’re using. On Twitter, we use any appropriate hashtags that will add value to the message and when appropriate, we cross-link to other Twitter accounts. On Facebook, because the character limit is much higher than 140 characters, we take the time and write a longer message to take advantage of the fact that we have more room to work with, and when appropriate, we cross-link to other Facebook accounts. We will also RT messages on Twitter and Share content on Facebook, so it appears in our respective timelines.”
Shayne went on to state:
“Obviously, during a response, your time is even more limited compared to steady state and you’re being pulled in multiple directions, but there is value in writing the message for the platform you’re using. And just like anything, practice makes perfect, so utilize the time you have during steady state to practice and get in the habit of writing for the platform.”
- Six@Six: Reasons to Avoid Crossing Social Media Streams (bulletproofblog.com)