Social Media Audiences

I think I get that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a personal blog are for separate and distinct purposes; however, in my case (in the case of most people not Building Their Personal Brand), the audiences overlap so much that it’s not always intuitive why you would use all four of them. Here’s what I think of them:

  • Facebook: pictures of your child(ren)/cat(s), complaints about your boss, bragging to people you went to school with. Keep it short and sweet. However, the people who see this stuff are probably people you know, or people who know people you know; the degree of separation from your audience is probably 1-3 deep, at most.
  • LinkedIn: your resume, reasons people should hire you. Useful for flogging your professional abilities, particularly if you are active in a professional community or you’re a freelancer. Not a place for pictures of cats, unless you are a cat photographer. Degree of separation can go all the way to Kevin Bacon level, and you’re probably going to get contacted by (or you will contact) recruiters and/or other people you’ve never spoken to, have no relationship with, but where a relationship could be mutually beneficial in the career sense.
  • Twitter: brand flogging and communicating with people outside your personal network when you’re selling the type of “self” that doesn’t fit into the LinkedIn box. Useful for media personalities and would-be personalities to share thoughts and opinions and establish connections and relationships that are more Facebook-like in content, but where the degree of separation can go much further. I understand Twitter the least so this is all conjecture. I know that some people will post everything they post on Twitter to Facebook. I think that the opposite is not always true, because you might say something on Facebook that you don’t want accessible to anyone and everyone. Whereas a Facebook goal might be to have all your actual friends, family, classmates and other acquaintances read your posts, the Twitter goal would be to get random people out in the world to do likewise.
  • Personal blog: long-form communications and expounding upon topics raised in the other three media. The benefit/drawback of the other three is that, generally speaking, content and commentary are brief. You can’t publish a serial novel on Facebook. There are also limitations on the type of content; you’re posting on somebody else’s network, and while I can’t think of too many things you’d legitimately want to say that you can’t say (illegal/offensive/etc. stuff is obviously out, but I probably wouldn’t want to make such a post on Facebook anyway), your blog is your blog and it’s a lot more wide open. I think that you can post about something in the other forums that would drive people to your blog where they might see what you have to say in more detail. However, they’d really really have to be interested, both to get them to your blog in the first place, then to stick around long enough to read, then, finally, to comment or otherwise acknowledge what you’re saying.

Some examples: I might write an article about Salesforce.com custom development here on markdalius.com, then I might post about it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to try to get people here to read it. I might write a short story here, then I might post about it on Facebook and Twitter, but probably not LinkedIn, because it’s not related to my professional growth. I might write a post on Facebook about what I was doing tonight, but I wouldn’t write more about it here, and I wouldn’t put it on the other sites, because it’s only interesting/relevant (and barely that) to friends and family. I might Tweet that I’m looking to meet up with people at a convention, and I’d probably put that on Facebook too, but not put it on the blog. Finally, if I wrote something on the blog that I wasn’t really focused on getting people to read, I probably wouldn’t mention it elsewhere, either.

Kind of like this.

Unless, of course, I thought that my definitions above might be incorrect. At which point I might ask others to give their thoughts. And because Facebook is my primary source of people who might read what I have to say, I’d mention it there first.

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