Recently I have been diving into Twitter and trying to find out how I can leverage it in my daily life. One of the first things I did as a part of this exploration was to syndicate my Twitter feed to my Facebook profile. I quickly realized this was a faux pas.

Why? Because I engage with different social networking sites in extremely different ways and my audiences’ intrests vary. Before I delve deeper into this, let’s see how I classify my Social networking world:

  • LinkedIn is my professional profile where my audience is my peers, potential clients and money making opportunities. This audience primarily cares about updates in my career successes and where I may be for networking opportunities using TripIt.
  • This Blog is my professional voice, rants and chronicle for my hobby, kayaking. My audience has the potential to be anyone in the public domain; however, generally it is a mix of friends and professional contacts. If I had the energy, I would have two blogs, one for kayaking and one for my professional public voice.
  • Twitter is a public dialog about all things with anyone and everyone that is paying attention to things I care about e.g. stocks, alternative energy, technology, the economy and other news. Very chatty forum and dialogs are announced to everyone following you or searching on a topic.
  • Facebook is a semi-private dialog about my personal life and less public views. I think this forum can stretch to be far more emotional than my public forums would ever be.  Dialog updates are announced only to people who have actively participated in them.
  • Yelp is where I communicate my public opinion on what tastes good and things I would pay for.

Some people have the same voice on on social networking sites and so they simply don’t differentiate. But the reality is that most recipients of facebook status, tweets, blog entries, etc. actually do care. For instance, I am not into Farmville and I have blocked everyone on facebook that plays it. For me, I can only imagine how annoying would it be if Farmville announcements were on Twitter.

I don’t want to see 10 facebook update status from a person a day. Twitter is a more appropriate forum for that. And sadly, when people syndicate their twitter feed into Facebook, their Facebook status is often nonsensical. For example, say you tweet “@johndoe I’d do a put at 3″.  Your Facebook community cannot see that you have been dialoging with a guy by the name of John Doe about geothermal energy. The context is simply not there.

Facebook is a forum for keeping in touch with people I love or want to play with. It is my playground. I do things I would never do in public e.g. post a pic of my friend’s child. I would even allow my niece to tag horrendous pictures of me when I was younger.

How do you answer and respond to the the question, what do you do? Are you the type of person who answers with details about your profession or your hobby? Do you roll your eyes when you ask the question and the person responds with their resume? For me it depends on where I am and what I am doing i.e. am I at a conference or on a river. When someone posts their work status on facebook, I generally feel sorry for them and believe they are working too hard and aren’t happy in their personal life because their work is their entire life.

Sometimes the boundaries cross, but not always. For some people whose connections are synonymous in work and their personal lives, these variances may not be as relevant.

In general, unless you are a food critic, honestly, most people don’t care where you ate on twitter. They would rather use Yelp to find out public opinion on the Sushi Restaurant in Fremont. By all means tweet about your review, but make your review count by cataloging it in the right place. On Facebook on the other hand, one can feel nostalgia and miss a loved one when they tweet about what/where they are eating. I am all about inviting myself over for dinner. And if I am making something sumptuous or going to a great restaurant, if I like you, by all means show up!

Another reality is, that while I may rant to my private audience on Facebook, I don’t consider that to be a public forum where potential employers may see my cynical side. I don’t want to be misunderstood in the public domain. My thoughts need to be more well articulated and complete in the public domain; whereas, my Facebook status is more contextualized based on knowing my character more intimately.

Personally, I don’t like connections on facebook unless they are friends. I do have some colleagues on there, but that is usually because I have created a deeper relationship with them beyond the bounds of the office. If that relationship is not there, I would prefer they were following me on my blog or Twitter.

Each tool has a very profoundly different use for me and I recognize that my audience varies greatly in all scenarios. What is your social networking etiquette?