Sunday, November 22, 2009

About Face

I got another one of those emails yesterday. Someone wants to be my 'friend' on Facebook. Let me tell you, for someone who often complains at home about the fact that I don't have many friends, I certainly have enough people who want to befriend me online.

This is a good thing right? Well, not necessarily. For me at least. You see, I am nearly maxed out on the time that I can give to my social networking applications. In fact, I only created a Facebook account because I wanted to see if I could locate a friend of mine from kindergarten. Make that my best friend from kindergarten who moved away just after we started 1st grade. Nick Fringle (Not sure that is the correct spelling). I remember him telling me he was moving to Hillsboro, Oregon. Then I never heard from or of him again. That was something like 36 years ago.

So, I created the Facebook account. Searched for my little buddy Nick. And came up with nothing. Nada. Zilch. It was a big disappointment. I have since spent little to no time on Facebook. The fact is, since I created my Twitter account, the time I have devoted to this blog has suffered. And since I created my blog, the time I have devoted to my family has suffered. And since I created my family, the time I have devoted to myself has suffered.

You get the picture. Devoting another chunk of my already dwindling 'free time' to yet another social networking application would be just too much for me to shoulder, lest I begin to seriously neglect something more important in my life.

So, I guess my question is: Facebook or Twitter? Do you have a preference? Do you do both? How much time do you spend on each, as opposed to blogging? It seems to me that Facebook is used by many more non-blogger types, ie friends and family from real life. (My parents even have an account!) While with Twitter I feel that I can create more of a relationship with interesting folks who are, for the most part, like minded.

In the end, it is one or the other for me, because unless I give up networking on Twitter, or worse yet something else more important like sleeping or spending time with my wife and son, I simply don't have time to be your Facebook Friend.

But, if you're in Seattle anytime soon give me a call. Maybe we can grab a beer and catch up.


Dan said...

It's twitter all the way for me. Mainly because on twitter no one can pressurize me into joining their mafia gang.

The advantage of Facebook however is that people use it who wouldn't be seen dead near twitter, plus it is more forgiving to the casual user. and you can organize stuff through it via events.

Disadvantage - my mother in law is my friend on it.

Steve said...


I refuse to Twitter (or Tweet or Tweep or whatever the heck this week's verb for it may be), precisely because I want to live mainly in the real world. But also because frankly who needs to know what I am doing all the time (which is why my Facebook updates are rare).

I still worry that all these so called "social" networking tools actually damage our ability (and more worryingly our children's ability) to socialise in person.

McMommy said...

I think it's hilarious when people say they will "Facebook" but not "Twitter", status updates on Facebook? Yeahhhhhh...that's essentially what twittering is!! Personally, I'd choose twitter over facebook, although I do have both. Twitter is just more fun to me. I like the quick banter of it.

Mrs. M said...

I do both, but spend little time on either. If I had to give one up it would be Twitter. Happy Monday!

Ed said...

So if I'm reading you right, and I think I am, you're ignoring my friend request??

SciFi Dad said...

Your blog.

I've got a FB account from that experiment, but it's laid dormant, save for the auto-updates I have for my posts and what not. I occasionally sign in and accept friend requests, but that's all.

Your experience with Twitter is precisely why I loathe it with the fire of a thousand suns: it is dumbing down bloggers. Stories you would have previously crafted into a post are now blown in 140 characters. And those of us who look for meaty content are left to wait until something that exceeds 140 characters is conceived.

So, post more on your blog, at least that's where I look for you.

If I Could Escape . . . said...

They both suck the like out of you! All in moderation, my friend!

PS Wanna be my Facebook friend! LOL

Lady Mama said...

The difference for me is the same - FB is real life friends and Twitter is blogging friends. I probably spend more time on Twitter as it's the only way I get to chat with blog friends. And I just prefer it to FB. Plus on FB there are too many "friends" I've nothing in common with any more.

Martin said...

I use FB to snoop, full stop.

Dan's MIL is a very nice woman, actually.

Alex said...

I've been blogging long before I decided to try Twitter out. My personal preference is to blog but I really enjoy the instant gratification of being able to post a quick note on Twitter. it was Neil Gaiman who said it best I think.

"It occurs to me that when you do it right twittering can be footnotes for life."

Being a SAHD myself I am well aware of the sink hole of time Facebook, blogging and Twitter can be. So I like to utilize these tools together.

When posting from Tweetdeck I have the option to automatically make my post on Facebook as well as Twitter. Even if I should make a post from from my browser, Facebook can be set to automatically post your tweets as well by reading your Twitter RSS Feed. When I make a post on my blog, Facebook grabs the post via RSS Feed and places it automatically on my Wall.

So really, the only thing I've added to my "social networking" are footnotes to my life and blog. I can't remember the last time I actually logged into Facebook but I've got friends and family who appriecate the time they think I spend posting on Facebook. :)

My personal preference is toward Twitter. It's short, sweet, and to the point. Most importantly though, it takes just a few seconds of my already busy day to type out a post and move on. If it's something I feel needs elaborating, I post it on my blog.

Just realized how long this reply was. Sorry for the rambling. I'm off to enjoy naptime!

-Alex (@quietlyscheming)

Being us... said...

I blog weekly, and have a facebook account but NEVER EVER post daily or minutely updates. I use it only for friend connections and to update photos for family that is out of state. The friends that I have reconnected through facebook I get their email and contact them without letting the whole world know what I am doing or who I am talking to.

ericdbolton said...

I can't say both can I?

On Twitter I converse more with the friends that I've made thru blogging. I have Hootsuite so it's just like a chatroom. I promote the blog there and say hi to people. My Twitter is pretty much exclusively Dads and Moms who blog. Where we communicate thru blogs. Which I promote.

Facebook holds my family and friends. I never thought that I would know over 100 people. A lot of them are people that I knew at college. Previous employments. Current employer and family.

One brother lives out of town and one is in Afghanistan. So Facebook is a great place to share with them.

I have auto posts of my blog go there as well. I don't spend as much time on Facebook as I do with Twitter.

Mainly because I get tired of the posts from friends who constantly talk about how much they drank last night..

WeaselMomma said...

I have both. I use twitter as an extention of my blog + connecting with old friends. I hardly use facebook, only to keep in touch with people who don't have twitter and to get phone numbers to have real catch up conversations. FB hasn't addicted me because of the 'Joey wants you take the love test' and 'Sara wants you to rate movie likeness quiz'. That annoys me.

Dan said...

People who are concerned that "no one wants to know what I'm having for breakfast" on twitter have sort of missed the point.

It's not about updating people as to what you are doing, it's about the banter. Or certainly is for me anyhow.

However It's true that twitter is killing blogging though. I've seen some great bloggers fall by the wayside due to it's charms. It's a shame because ultimately it's junk food rather than the meat and two veg of the blog.

I think....

hey.... hang on.... didn't i allready comment on this post. damn you James for luring me back.

DGB said...

I'm on both (@DaddyGeekBoy). I find FB to be more personal and easier to connect with individuals. Twitter is like spraying thought bullets around the internet. For the most part, you don't know where things land. Every once in a while you make contact.

Dan said...

Now this is getting ridiculous

Anonymous said...

I can't get into twitter at all. I use it to update my status when I have a new blog post but that's about it. I enjoy facebook because I know most of the people there and it's a better networking tool... at least I think so. The whole social networking thing is way overblown and aside from the initial excitement you have of tracking someone you haven't talked to in years... then it just gets a little boring. The people that have to comment "I'm going to bed" or "Having Dinner" or "Going to go take a huge crap" really drive me crazy. Who freakin' cares!

Anonymous said...

For me it's blog, twitter, then facebook. Outside of a few good blogger friend's I've made over the past year, Facebook is just old college and high school friends plus some family. I find Twitter more useful in meeting new people, but that's just me.

Steve @ MyBoys3 said...

The more I've been blogging, the more I've gotten active on FB & Twitter. Is a great place to promote my writing and let people know what's new. My guess is that most of my friends and family on FB don't know how to Twitter!

James (SeattleDad) said...

@All - Thanks so much to everyone who commented. I don't currently have a lot of contact with old friends, distant family, and school mates. I need to decide whether I want to foster that or not. If so, then it is obvious that Facebook would be a great venure for doing so.

But, as I mentioned, it would also mean that I would probably want to give up Twitter and I am not prepared to do so just yet.

Thanks again for your input. It is all much appreciated.


Idaho Dad said...

I'm late to the commenting, but wanted to add my thoughts. I signed up for both Twitter and Facebook at the same time.

Didn't get into either one. Didn't "get" them. But over time I slowly started understanding the appeal of Facebook as more and more old friends discovered me. Once I had a large enough collection of friends, old and new, and family members, I began really enjoying the casual conversations that took place.

Here's where I never "got" Twitter. To me, Twitter is a room full of people all shouting random comments at each other hoping to be heard above the din.

Facebook, on the other hand, is orderly, casual, face-to-face conversation. It's very much like commenting on someone's blog post and then following along with other people's comments on just that post.

Facebook is for people who don't want to have the banter, as Dan put it, with anyone and everyone. I've never been good at banter anyway. I much prefer the quiet and ordered discussions that ensue on Facebook when a friend posts an update, photo, or link.

As for the Mafia Wars and Farmville stuff? I just hit the "Hide" button and never see it.

I catch up with friends at the end of the day, and Facebook is perfect for that. Twitter only works well if you're at your computer, or phone, throughout the day and can catch the banter as it's happening. I've looked at the 20 or so Twitter users that I follow at the end of the day and just feel lost. I can't imagine trying to enjoy all the banter when you have 100 or more people tweeting at you all day long. I really only check in to see what Dan has to say (wish he'd connect his Tweets to his Facebook update).

Okay, was that way more than you ever wanted to hear from me?

Basically, Twitter=chaotic house party where everyone's a little bit drunk. Facebook=casual sit-down garden party where just a few people are a little bit drunk.