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One Sunday earlier this year I made the mistake of deciding that a shopping spree on Oxford Street would be a good idea. My first Larry David moment occurred within about two minutes of entering the first shop. 

After an unproductive and highly frustrating couple of hours I bailed out and let rip on Twitter. One tweet included the dreaded f-word.

About 20 minutes after that I received a message via LinkedIn, from somebody who – rightly – pointed out the language I’d chosen to use was inappropriate...


Please remember that the tweets you post get re-posted in many other places including LinkedIn where you have connections that can see your Tweet posts. Consider reputation management for yourself and Econsultancy and if you want your professional connections to see you using such profanities.”

A fair point. I swiftly de-synced my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, so that tweets would not automatically appear on the latter. 

Today, on Twitter, Ste Davies posted this message:

This started a little bit of a discussion, and now – an hour or so later – there seems to be a firm consensus that joining up your social media accounts in this way is a bad idea. Here are a bunch of very good reasons for not auto-syncing your social media profiles:

AUDIENCE & RELEVANCY ISSUES

@stedavies When I login to LinkedIn I want to see a stream of relevant business related questions, links to research, surveys etc. Not tweets.

@paulrouke If synced up my Twitter with my Facebook by friends on Facebook would be like WTF is he on about half the time!

@CarliR6 I don't like to - not everything is relevant to everyone, especially not on Facebook.

@gra_london I tried syncing them all but found that I was pushing the same content to different audiences - Hootsuite helps to be more targeted.

@henweb I share *some* of my Tweets to Facebook. Stopped doing the LinkedIn thing. It's all about audience...

FREQUENCY ISSUES

@daveeeeeed T&L shd be kept *very* separate IMO - both for totally different purposes. I don't link T&F either due to a different frequency of updates (T higher).

FUNCTIONALITY ISSUES

@dannypenrose One of the biggest cons for me when posting to multiple profiles is #hashtags, seen as they only work on twitter.

DUPLICATION ISSUES

@henryoz I'm totally against it - different mediums for different purposes. I don't want to see someone's updates twice every time.

AUTOMATED ISSUES

@rskin11 Syncing anywhere from twitter just spams my networks. Did it once. Nevermore. I add "in" and "fb" suffixes on Tweetdeck when I want.

@wadds Different audiences. Use #fb or #in functions to be selective.

I think the last point, by @wadds and @rskin11 makes plenty of sense. When you want to share a tweet on another platform use the #in or #fb funtion. Rather than taking a one size-fits all approach to content distribution, you can be selective about which tweets you want to share. Manual curation beats automation.

However, @NeilMajor has been playing devil’s advocate in the debate, and just as we’re suggesting that auto-syncing is a bad idea, Neil makes the point that the question of whether or not to share content automatically very much depends on how you use social media.

I’m not remotely disciplined and still view Twitter as my own personal space. If you follow me you’ll mainly see internet-related content during the day, but anything goes after hours, and as we’ve seen I don’t exactly keep the language on the street. Until Twitter launches ‘leisure time’ and ‘work time’ filters my work-related followers are going to have to put up with a bunch of nonsense (or unfollow me, as some undoubtedely do).

But Neil is right… if I only tweeted two or three times a day, and if all my tweets were professional, then it might make sense to auto-sync (to LinkedIn). This kind of thinking might also apply to brand-related social media accounts, though Econsultancy manually updates its Facebook page rather than feeding in all of our tweets by default. Different audiences call for different content, and different tactics.  

There are always exceptions to the rule, though for ill-disciplined Twitter users who mix up their work and leisure interests (like me) it is probably a bad idea to share content across platforms by default.

It's worth pointing out that one of the reasons why I like Twitter is precisely because I follow lots of people who I respect for their professional brains, but who also entertain me, and who aren’t afraid to share a bit of their personality along the way. But Twitter and LinkedIn are two very different beasts.

TAKEAWAYS

I guess the key takeaway is ‘don’t do something just because you can’. I hooked up Twitter and LinkedIn pretty much because LinkedIn had released the functionality that allowed me to do so. In all honesty I didn’t really think it through. Ask yourself if it’s worthwhile. As @vikkichowney says: “I've never had anyone complain directly, but I see little value in it either.”

Why double the workload? I didn’t much like replying to comments posted on LinkedIn to my tweets. It seemed silly. Twitter is my channel for having a real time conversation on the web. I’d accidentally made a rod for my back.

Beware of what your Mum might see. Mighty Malcolm Coles has a good example of this

“Do Not Let Your Worlds Collide,” says Ky Ekinci, who explains this ‘golden rule’ in detail - with the help of George Costanza – in this post.

What do you think? Do you auto-sync social media accounts? Pros vs cons? Please leave a comment below.
Chris Lake

Published 4 March, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (16)

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Can Koklu

I agree completely.. That's why I use Hootsuite for all my updates.. I get to pick which network I want to post a specific story to..

over 5 years ago

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Mark Shaw

I have been telling peeps for ages.. the 3 different platforms that you talk about.. Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are 3 spearate places, and typically the peeps & relationships you have there are very dfferent... so you need to message and treat people differently, not simply duplicate everything on all 3...

someone messaged me and said.. twitter is the pub... linkedin the business lunch and facebook when you invite them back to your house... so have that mentality when messaging peeps...

Mark

over 5 years ago

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Lee

Agreed. Only one of my LinkedIn connections has his Twitter feed synced with LinkedIn, but his feed is just him talking absolute rubbish 24/7. Very professional.

over 5 years ago

Elle Holgate

Elle Holgate, Digitial Planner & Copywriter at Vexed Digital

As I said, in the original debate, although as a general rule of thumb, syncing is to be avoided, in certain cases it has its uses.

For example, at Vexed we push our Facebook updates out to Twitter. The two channels don't share an audience - so it provides extra content for our followers on Twitter.

Syncing done right enables you to do more with less. But it is as the debaters rightly said, it's still something to be used sparingly and in limited cases.

over 5 years ago

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Rene

Good debate.

Relevant, engaging, accurate, informative, targeted - aren't these the bedrock foundations of good marketing? Anything else is spam. I too am getting tired of seeing Tweets on my Linkedin home page. And when some people tweet like crazy, I doubt they have considered the impact it is having on their reputation.

I agree there is a place for synching and as a rule put blog links out to Twitter and Linkedin, but as I use Hootsuite I can pick and choose which messages go where anyway, no need for #fb #in etc.

As I was recently reminded, the language of Twitter doesnt really work anywhere else, which comes back to my opening point about treating these platforms differently.

over 5 years ago

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Allison

Hi Chris- I agree, just because the functionality is there doesn't mean its always the best thing to do. I personally don't because I my audiences are different on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I have had this debate with people and a big problem with the Facebook and Twitter syncing, people's tweets are usually more frequent, and sometimes quick snippets of thoughts or observations. A lot of people were frustrated with the tweets in the news feed.

over 5 years ago

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Florida Coworking

..thanks Chris for re-opening this debate/issue and including my blog post. If anyone knows it's George Costanza! Don't collide your worlds folks!

Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder
Office Divvy ™

over 5 years ago

Ian Hughes

Ian Hughes, Managing Director at LHM Media Ltd

Enjoyed this blog, some really good points here from everyone.

Syncing just seems a way for the large networks to gain exposure for each other, and certainly dilutes LinkedIn and other feeds with irrelevant content.

over 5 years ago

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William King

It surely do sounds stupid and very disturbing when you see hundreds of spam tweets on your linked in home page. It is not only disturbing for others but it will also not leave a professional impression on linkedin. Yes, I also believe that you should never sync your social networking accounts as you use them for different purposes.

over 5 years ago

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theComplex

I've been "anti-sync" since I started using Twitter 2 years ago. I noticed that some friends were using @replies and hashtags on Facebook and it really frickin' irked me so refused to be that annoying. As you experienced, I know that some of what I say on twitter is not going to be relevant or even appropriate on networks like LinkedIn. Although exhausting, I currently make specific posts to each network (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc)

over 5 years ago

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Gav

Extremely frustrating to see any irrelevant crossover, also as frustrating is 'generic' feeds used by all members of a company - if you're connected with more than one person, you end up seeing the updates multiple times, which is annoying!

over 5 years ago

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Aloysius Carl

I am an anti-synch believer. We're seeing comment and posting overload due to this and I believe the long term affect will be disengagement by readers.

If it means somethign to you, you should take the time to direct post.

over 5 years ago

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Han

With regards to syncing between Twitter and FB you can use the hashtag #fb and then the app on FB knows to "duplicate" that particular tweet but to ignore ones that don't have the hashtag.

over 5 years ago

Suzanne Locke

Suzanne Locke, Editor-in-chief at Yahoo! Middle East

It does depend how you use your accounts. For me, LinkedIn is 100% professional, Facebook is 90% personal (with some colleagues as friends, albeit mostly on limited profiles!) and private. Twitter is the grey area in the middle, where different people use the platform for professional or personal use. For me, Twitter is 90% professional, so I do link it to LinkedIn - the trick is to remember it is linked when veering into the 10% personal tweets!

over 5 years ago

Suzanne Locke

Suzanne Locke, Editor-in-chief at Yahoo! Middle East

And of course if I ever do want to sync Twitter to Facebook I have the optional sync set up to tweet using #fb hashtag to manually feed a selected tweet to Twitter.

over 5 years ago

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Andy

Syncing is very dangerous. Having a different approach to communicating with different markets is fine and often the best approach. It's very rare to have one message.

over 3 years ago

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