Twitter or Facebook: Which Is More Intimate?

7 years ago

I use Twitter. I use Facebook. My Twitter pushes to my Facebook. My blog pushes to my Facebook. I thought about having my blog push to my Twitter, which could then push to my Facebook, but really, it almost seemed like a conflict of interest. If I wanted to, I could push my blog to my Facebook from my blogging platform.

I know for a fact there are people who follow me on Twitter who don't read my blog. There are people who read my blog in an actual browser who have never used Twitter. And then there is the Facebook crowd, who may or may not read my blog, because they reply to my tweets on Facebook and boy is that confusing.

I read it all in my e-mail.

I don't follow back automatically on Twitter. I have over 1,600 blogs in my feedreader, and if I followed that many people on Twitter, too, I'd have to move to my own apartment. I don't read status updates in Facebook, unless, of course, I follow that person on Twitter and it was originally a tweet and I just happened to be on Twitter at the time.

Before I left my corporate job, I remember my co-worker visibly recoiling when someone she didn't know followed her on Twitter. She was completely skeeved out that a stranger would violate her in this manner. I was shocked, as well, as I want as many complete strangers to follow me on Twitter as possible, because if they follow me, they might read my blog. My entire social media existence revolves around getting people to read my blog. I want them to read my blog so then they might buy my book. I am very single-minded in my strategy: I want to be a writer.

I like talking to my friends, but I also talk to them via that old-dog technology, e-mail. If Twitter and Facebook went the way of Lycos and NetZero, I would survive, because I still have my friends' e-mail addresses. The ones who blog put those e-mail addresses right there on their blogs. I admit it: I'm using social media as a syndication tool.

My co-worker friend? Was not. Hence, after I thought about it, I understood the skeeve factor. For the nonwriter, at least.

So I got to thinking about social media intimacy. Which is more intimate? A Twitter follower or a Facebook friend? To me, Facebook is more intimate, even though I almost never post anything directly on Facebook. Sound odd? Here's why: If someone wants to friend me, I have to accept or ignore his or her request. If they follow me on Twitter, I don't have to do anything. I've never blocked anyone on Twitter, but I have ignored and even unfriended people who started spamming me with plots of Farmville land the minute I accepted their requests. (I never accept virtual gifts. I hate that crap. I also hate Foursquare. I admit it.)

Rita's Criteria for Facebook Friends
  • Do I know this person?
  • Do I recognize this person's name, face or blog?
  • Did I go to high school with this person and she just changed her name and looks nothing like she used to?
  • Am I related to this person by blood or marriage?
  • How many mutual friends do we have?
  • Are those mutual friends in my inner circle?
  • Is this person a man I don't know who has nothing to do with social media?

In general, I don't friend men I either don't know or don't recognize their names, faces or blogs or see many mutual friends. Why? Well, for one thing, I'm married. It says it right there on my profile, but despite that, I once made the mistake of friending a strange man and having him immediately proposition me. Will I generalize the potential for that behavior to all strange men? YES. Also? My husband thinks Facebook is of the devil, so I don't want to give him any cause for concern. Because really? I value my husband's comfort and peace of mind more than I value yet another person-I-don't-really-know-but-we'll-pretend-is-my-friend-friend. Does that mean I'm discriminating on the basis of gender on Facebook? Yeah. Um. It does. But I'm telling you, it totally blows to get blindsided with a proposition on social media.

So there you have it. Probably explains why I have three times as many Twitter followers than Facebook friends, even though probably none of them read my blog.

Which do you think is more intimate? Do you have strange rules for who you'll friend on Facebook like I do? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rita Arens authors Surrender Dorothy and is the editor of Sleep is for the Weak. She is BlogHer's assignment and syndication editor.

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