How Do You Choose What to Share with Your Online Contacts?

My favorite social network these days is Facebook.  Since the people I’m looking to connect with are people that enjoy sharing photos, ideas, etc, Facebook is a logical place for them to congregate.  And it’s where I really focus on building my “tribe.”  As such, I’ve come to appreciate features such as the “Like” link, which I use to acknowledge posts that I enjoy, or people I want to connect with in some small way.

So lately when I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve found myself wishing I had a “Like” button.  Again, it would be to acknowledge posts that make me smile, etc.  I wrote the tweet, “Didja ever wish that Twitter had a “Like” button?”  Not really expecting an answer.  Just a random thought.  So it surprised me when this opened up a discussion.  Several folks said that this is what a RT is for. (A RT – retweet – on Twitter is when you share a post that someone has tweeted with your network.)  One person even suggested that it was less than authentic not to share content that you would “like.”

But I don’t think so.  You see, I feel like I have made a certain commitment to the people that follow me.  I’ve promised to share content that they will find valuable, and I mix it with content that helps them come to know me (that whole “know, like, and trust” thing.)  So when someone talks about something completely random that makes me smile (for example, “just had a fabulous cup of coffee”) I don’t see it as necessary to RT that to my entire network.  I think that could waste my network’s time.  Now of course I could send a tweet back to that individual saying something in response.  But sometimes I wish I could just click something quickly, such as a like button, to acknowledge the tweet without putting a lot of effort into it.  (Does that make me lazy?  Maybe.  But I’m also busy, and sometimes things shouldn’t require that much effort.)

Maybe I’ve been conditioned by Facebook to “like.” 🙂  But I think there is a difference between sharing value with your network with relevant RT’s, and RTing stuff simply to say I liked your random post.  If we’re using social media for business, we’ve made a commitment to the followers we’ve invited to join us.  We commit to sharing relevant content (emphasis on “relevant”), to developing a personal relationship, and to connect from time to time.  While we each need to make a decision as to what type of content does that for us, I don’t think the whole world needs to read messages when all we want to do is acknowledge something that made us smile.

I guess it’s just one more reason why Facebook works for me more than Twitter does these days.

What do you think?

8 Responses to How Do You Choose What to Share with Your Online Contacts?
  1. Tisa
    July 22, 2010 | 5:00 pm

    Yes I like being about to just give the person who shared a little hug with a like button:) I have another question about FB. I notice that some high profile people just allow everyone to be their friend on Face Book. I thought it was just for your friends. Is it that you just put them in different categories so they only see the postings that pertain to them?

    • Jennifer Fong
      July 23, 2010 | 7:13 am

      That’s one way to handle it Tisa. Or you can do what I do, which is just to only post those things you’re willing to have seen in public. Everyone handles their accounts differently.

  2. Lisa Robbin Young
    July 22, 2010 | 12:45 pm

    I’ll take the hit on this one (and as I mentioned, Jen, I’ll be blogging on this as well). Catty perhaps, but if people aren’t interested in knowing what I like, they shouldn’t be following me. They don’t have to listen to everything (and often aren’t), but if they like me, they should have minor interest in knowing what I like – even if it is the fact that a person had a great cup of coffee. And Yes, you could just reply with a smile instead of RT’ing it. It’s not hard or time consuming. That’s part of the twitter conversation to me.

    I’m a “warts and all” kind of girl – something that I know not everyone resonates with. And twitter isn’t for everyone. Facebook isn’t for everyone. Each social media site has a particular style, vernacular and way of doing things. It is what it is, like it or not.

    And while I feel it’s important to be value-added to our audience, I also believe in the whole transparency concept. I’m actually bothered by the whole “like” concept on blogs because I think it detracts from those who may have otherwise left a comment because it’s “easier” to just click a button and avoid conversation. Disqus helps a little, because you can give “points” to commenters that leave posts that you like. But I ENJOY conversation – not everyone does.

    This is the blessing and curse of having multiple social media tools (remember, they are tools, folks!) – you have as many myriad ways to use them as there are sites!

    We as a culture have gotten programmed into “instant everything”. When something’s fast, we want it faster. This is endemic, and not likely to change soon – and it’s not a finger waggling at you either, Jen. Just an observation that we have started to expect things to be easier because we’re used to it. And it’s really a shame for all of us.

    On a personal note, I originally found facebook far too complex to navigate, learn and deal with in a time-sensitive manner. So instead of trying to sort it out, I walked away. It wasn’t what I wanted or needed it to be at the time. I liked twitter because it was clear cut – it forced interaction. You either tweet, tweet back, or don’t respond. With facebook, there were too many “cracks” to fall through, too much “stuff” to miss. And I hate missing out on stuff.

    And I certainly never meant to imply that YOU weren’t authentic, Jen. Just that, for me, people have to take me as I am. If people are expecting that every tweet is going to be 100% on topic and value-added specifically written for my audience, they don’t know me very well. I’m an oddball sometimes, and part of my brand and my commitment is to be me 100% of the time. Social media – for business or not – is still social, and sometimes there IS a randomness to it that opens doors to other conversations. I actually like that.

    • Jennifer Fong
      July 22, 2010 | 2:14 pm

      I appreciate you chiming in here Lisa (I was hoping you would!) 🙂

      I suppose it’s up to each person and what they feel would work. And it’s also about the ROI of time invested.

      Good things to think about!

      • Lisa Robbin Young
        July 22, 2010 | 2:34 pm

        Sometimes it’s good to not always agree on everything. It makes the world a more interesting place to live and creates new possibilities.

        Although, to be frank, I DO agree with you on so much, I almost fell over when I found myself NOT in agreement with you. 🙂

        You always offer great ideas for people to ponder. Appreciate you!

  3. Bridgett
    July 22, 2010 | 11:57 am

    Along those same lines, many times I’ll read blog posts and don’t have anything to add to the conversation, but I do want to acknowledge that I read it and liked it.
    I wish there was a “like” feature on blogs that was not attached to Facebook.
    What if I wanna say, “I like your blog post,” but do it in a way that it doesn’t end up posting a “Bridgett Likes XYZ” in my Facebook friends’ newsfeed? The Facebook Like feature on blogs seems to be the equivalent to the RT feature on Twitter.

  4. MeLissa Rocco
    July 22, 2010 | 11:23 am

    I agree completely. It is for this reason that I really don’t “hang” on twitter too much anymore. I just feel like I’m more able to connect, interact and get to know people more on FB. When I am on twitter, though, I would like to have that like button. 🙂

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