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Twitter Tip: Don’t Auto-Connect Your Facebook And Twitter Accounts

Twitter has made it deceptively easy to connect your Twitter account to your Facebook account, but don’t be fooled. It’s usually not a good idea.

Twitter and Facebook are two distinct networks with two distinct sets of etiquette and norms. Posting all of your tweets to your Facebook wall may sound like a good idea at first (I can keep my friends updated on everything going on in my life!), but believe me, neither your Facebook nor your Twitter friends will thank you.

How to do it

Before we get into the details of why it’s a bad idea to connect your Twitter to your Facebook account, here’s how to do it (for those who want to flout my advice):

As Twitter’s Help Center explains, you can post all of your tweets to your Facebook profile using an official application. You simply have to be logged in to your Twitter account and your Facebook account, and navigate to the app page: http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/. Then, just click “Allow” when asked if you want to connect your two accounts, and voila! you’re all hooked up.

After setting this up, all of your tweets will be simultaneously posted to your Facebook profile, with a little note at the bottom mentioning that it came from Twitter.

Why you shouldn’t

Now that you know how, here’s why you shouldn’t auto-tweet to your Facebook profile.

Twitter and Facebook are two very different networks. The people you’re connected to on Twitter expect different things than those you’re connected to on Facebook (even if most of them are the same group of people).

Twitter is a high-volume network, where you can tweet ten or twenty times a day and no one will say boo. Because you are encouraged to follow lots of different people – those you know and those you don’t – and because you don’t require their permission to do so, Twitter is a more informal and loosely connected network.

Facebook, on the other hand, is much more personal. You friend people who have to accept your friend request, implying some level of familiarity. The volume of updates on Facebook is much, much less than on Twitter! People expect one, maybe two status updates a day, maximum.

The culture of both networks is different, so if you combine them you risk alienating your audience. By posting your tweets to your Facebook profile, you’ll inundate your Facebook friends with status update after status update, taking over their newsfeed and appearing spammy. Those 10 tweets will fit perfectly within Twitter’s real-time home timeline, but they’ll clutter up your Facebook wall and may even result in a block or an unfriending.

The syntax of both networks is also different. Twitter relies on “#”s and “@”s to function and uses abbreviations like “RT”, while Facebook’s syntax is less niche. If your fill up your Facebook wall with status updates from Twitter like “@JustinBieber you #RockMyWorld RT @YourFriend Isn’t @JustinBieber so amazing?”, your Facebook friends will quickly become annoyed.

The exceptions

Of course, there are some exceptions to every rule.

If you don’t tweet very often (say, once or twice per day at the most, and not even every day at that), connecting Twitter to Facebook might not make much difference to your Facebook followers.

Still, the better way, in my opinion, to post a tweet to your Facebook wall is just by syncing both your Twitter account and your Facebook account to a dashboard like HootSuite, and selecting both networks for those tweets you feel also belong on Facebook. This way you can choose which Twitter messages to also post to Facebook, rather than being at the whim of an auto-updater.

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