Community: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn

I read a tweet once that said, “I like to say that Twitter is like a bar, Facebook is your living room and LinkedIn is the local chamber of commerce.” I don’t know the woman who wrote it, Brenda S. Stoltz from Ariad Partners, but the idea is so relatable that I couldn’t just try and make up my own version; I decided to elaborate instead.

Twitter is the bar. You talk to everyone and anyone. You have a few too many and you’re telling people your life story. More importantly, other people are there, like you, to meet people and build new relationships. Some people talk too much and don’t listen, others listen well but might not talk as much. Either way, there’s a revolving captive audience and there are relationships developing in the bar. As a business, you should know that there’s a lot of chatter to keep up with, but so many different ways to become everyone’s best friend.

Facebook is indeed like your living room. You don’t invite everyone from the bar to your living room, however you might have hung out with a couple of your new bar friends at a more sobering place and have become comfortable with inviting them to your living room. When you’re a business on Facebook, you need to remember that you’re still kind of that bar person—the one they don’t necessarily invite into their living room. However, if you brought some good brownies (a sale) or beer (discounts) they might let you in to stay as long as you don’t creep out everyone else.

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LinkedIn is sort of like the local chamber of commerce, however I like to think of it more like a conference too. Everyone on LinkedIn is on it for a professional reason, whether they’re looking for a job, trying to establish themselves as an expert in LinkedIn Answers, or build a bigger network. As businesses, we should recognize that the bulk of people on LinkedIn are business people and don’t go to LinkedIn to find deals like they do Twitter and Facebook. If you’re a B2B publisher, this is great news and makes your updates and group interactions very easy. If you’re a consumer magazine it just means that your best efforts are likely spent elsewhere.

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    Brenda S.


    It took me way too long to see this and respond, my apologies. First, great job elaborating! That’s pretty much spot on. Here are a couple of other points behind the analogy:

    1. Facebook/Living Room – You don’t invite people to your home without having a place for them to sit and offering a cup of coffee or tea. In the same way, you must be prepared when you invite people to Facebook to “sit down” and engage with them. Have something for them to talk about and encourage discussion. Make it a relaxing, inviting atmosphere where they can get to know each other. It is much more work inviting people to your home (Facebook), then meeting them in a bar (Twitter).

    2. The reason I said “local” CoC is because LinkedIn wants to you only connect with people you know and that is a big part of it. As you said, it really is much more focused on business, but it’s also a very personal network in that you are encouraged only to connect with people you truly know or have met. There are more ways you can get to “know” someone – like group memberships – but it is still a requirement.

    Great post!


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