Twitter tips for ex-facebooker?
November 13, 2013 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I've just left Facebook for Twitter, please help me understand this new place. In what ways are they alike, and different? Tips, tools, etiquette? Thanks!
posted by Tom-B to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
By "left Facebook for Twitter," do you mean "I used Facebook and now I use Twitter" or "I left my job at Facebook to work for Twitter"?
posted by yaymukund at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

The big difference is that you know people on Twitter via what they say, but you do not necessarily know them in IRL. Twitter is more like the rest of the non-Facebook Internet in that way. You can think of it like short-message MetaFilter, if that helps.

You can unfollow anyone you don't enjoy reading or interacting with. Unlike Facebook, there's 0 cost to doing that. Likewise, you can follow people simply because you enjoy reading them. You don't have any prior connection to them.
posted by ignignokt at 2:27 PM on November 13, 2013

You can read user #1's thoughts on the differences. They rang true to me.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: LOL yeah "I used Facebook and now I use Twitter".

Also, what's the deal with Favorites, how do they work? How about images?
posted by Tom-B at 2:30 PM on November 13, 2013

The biggest change (among many) you'll likely notice is how connections work. On Facebook, you and the other person must both agree to be "friends". You can still "follow" people, but the predominant transaction is friends.

On Twitter, you can follow anyone you want, and anyone can follow you, without permission (though you can block people). That said, there's a bit of an obnoxious culture of people following you and expecting to be followed back. People will also "tweet at" you to get you to notice them (by including your @handle in their tweets), often hoping you'll tweet back at them.
posted by mkultra at 2:41 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Who are you connecting with on twitter and what are you hoping to accomplish? There are a lot of different... I don't know, micro-twitters? out there. So one group of twitterers might be faving each others' tweets all over the place, while in another group faving without retweeting is (semi-ironically) regarded as insulting.
posted by mskyle at 2:44 PM on November 13, 2013

Response by poster: I want to connect with people I know in real life, mostly people who like the same stuff I like, and use it a filter for my media/reality diet.

Also, what's the deal with url shorteners these days, do they still go thru Libya or something?
posted by Tom-B at 3:43 PM on November 13, 2013

"I want to connect with people I know in real life"

That's not how I use Twitter (nor, I suspect, do most others). And I don't think it's particularly suited to that role, although I'm sure it can be done.

I view Facebook and Twitter as complimentary. I'm paraphrasing, but somebody said Facebook is for your friends, and Twitter is for the people you wish were your friends.

Twitter for me has somewhat replaced Metafilter (eek!). I follow people who link to interesting stuff, and use it (in combination with a read later service like Instapaper) to discover what's going on in the world in the fields that I'm interested in. Whereas Facebook largely tells me what my school friend's kids did at school today.
posted by puffmoike at 5:45 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is going to sound really unhelpful, but: there is no right way to Twitter. People love to tell you how This Is The Correct Way To Do Twitter and You Should Never and Everyone Always and whatever, and those rules are undoubtably true in the Twitter spaces those people inhabit. But different circles of people use Twitter in ENORMOUSLY HUGELY different ways and you'll only be able to figure out how your particular circle does it by hanging out and watching them talk for a while.

Some different modes of Twittering (that I've seen) include:

-- Following all your real life and online friends and using Twitter as a sort of super-casual chat client where you mostly just talk to each other about what you're up to and joke around

-- Following authors/musicians/comedians/artists who you think are interesting and/or whose work you enjoy

-- Following people you hate so you can yell at them whenever they post anything

-- Following people who are all members of the same subculture as you, creating a space where you mostly just talk about that subculture

-- Following a bunch of performative comedy Twitters that basically just post funny nonsequiters

-- Locking it down so only your close friends can see it and using it to vent about your job/family/school/whatever so you don't go crazy during the day

-- Some combination of the above

Just follow whoever you want to follow, lurk for a while to see how they conduct themselves, and then have fun.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:01 PM on November 13, 2013

Oh, one specific usage thing to keep in mind: remember that, for most Twitter-viewing clients, people will only see tweets that begin with a @username if those tweets are directed to people they also follow.

To be clear, if I write:
@TwitterFriend Oh man, THAT'S GREAT
Only people who follow me AND @TwitterFriend will see that tweet.

BUT, if I write:
I hung out with @TwitterFriend today, yay!
.@TwitterFriend is the BEST
Then everyone who follows me will see those tweets.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:05 PM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Favorites: Sometimes I use favorites because "oh my gosh this is so funny/true/inspiring/etc" and sometimes I use it to keep track of articles, recipes, and other useful things until I can come back to them.
In my experience some people favorite anything they are mentioned in which to me seems like a waste of your favorites space, but its up to you!

Privacy: I have also shifted back and forth between locked and unlocked at various times depending on my job and circumstances. It will keep you less vulnerable to strangers, but your interactions with others will drop dramatically. This is mostly because no one can retweet you, meaning less people stumble onto your page and create more interactions.

Blocking: Keep in mind that, unlike facebook, blocking someone will not prevent them from seeing your page. It prevents them them from appearing in your news feed, appearing in your interactions if/when they @mention you, and appearing in search results for you.

Direct Message: You can only send DMs to those who follow you. Conversely, they cannot reply unless you follow them. Knowing this can prevent a little frustration down the road.

Discover: This is mostly meaningless and I tend to see mostly posts I have already seen. I think this is compiled from posts and media that are popular among people you follow. Every once in a while I'll find something interesting or a trending topic worth participating in (#whitepeoplehistoryclasses). On a related note, you can click a #hashtag to see other tweets that use it.
posted by rubster at 8:06 PM on November 13, 2013

Narrative Priorities put me in my place pretty quickly!

I suppose you could use Twitter for whatever limited purpose you want (or have multiple accounts and use them in different ways). But I suspect anybody who already enjoys Metafilter will find they'll get a lot more out of Twitter if they follow people beyond their immediate friends.

One beautiful site for learning about Twitter is the graphic designer Jessica Hische's
posted by puffmoike at 10:31 PM on November 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

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