The Right Tools for the Right Jobs's Direct Message View

I was teasing Brian about how he could simply/easily refer to when I last sent him a direct message via Twitter. He replied calmly that it’s easy to do if you’re looking at the view of direct messages on (see above graphic). Er, um. He’s right. Because I spend my time in Hootsuite (affiliate link), where because it’s a 3rd party application, direct messages fall off the screen at some point. Of course, this means we have to think about the various tools we use for marketing, for communicating, for media making, and question how we use them and for what.

The Many Twitters

Some people use as their primary Twitter viewing portal. This makes sense, because that’s where you sign up. But with that single-column view, that’s like reading your newspaper if every single article was written in a single column, scrolling downward into infinity. It’s just not an easy view.

For VIEWING a lot of Twitter information at the same time, you’ve gotta go with something like HootSuite or Tweetdeck or the like. (The difference between those two is that Hootsuite is a web-based multi-column app, so you can use it everywhere without installing software, and Tweetdeck is primarily a desktop app.)

For getting all the data being sent your way, you’ve gotta go back to, because everything else is passing that data through an API, meaning that there are limitations on how much information can be received, and you WILL lose information, unless you’ve only got about 5 followers and are following 10 or so people. Even then, I wouldn’t swear by a 3rd party app for delivery of every message.

For scheduling tweets and advanced management, you have to go with something like CoTweet (if you have groups) and/or Hootsuite. There are other tools, but those are probably the top of the heap.

For listening to Twitter, I just cook searches using and export the results to an RSS feed that I throw into Google Reader to check at my leisure. If you want something a bit more advanced with monitoring tool companies and the like, there are tons to consider. I list these every three or four blog posts about software, so I’ll stun you and NOT list them. If you want more on listening tools, grow bigger ears.

Twitter vs Foursquare and the Like

Twitter is a place for information to flow back and forth. You can use it one-way, like a newsfeed, or you can use it two-way, like a watercooler tool. Neither is wrong or right.

Several people pipe in their other lightweight social application data into Twitter. For instance, they point all their Foursquare and Gowalla check-ins into their Twitter stream. It depends what you’re hoping to do with the OUTPUT of your Twitter presence whether that’s a good idea. If you’re just documenting your life in all dimensions, then who cares? Do what you like.

But there are other interpretations. For instance, I know a freelance professional that has Foursquare wired into his or her account. Near as I can tell, this person spends at least 10 hours a day traveling from coffeeshop to coffeeshop. Sure, if you don’t have an office, that’s cool. But with multiple checkins (rarely more than an hour between location changes), I know that this person can’t be all that busy, because unless this is part of his or her exercise plan, I know that he or she isn’t in meetings. So, you see my point.

And, is Foursquare as chatty as Twitter? Not that I’ve seen. People don’t want you “tweeting” in Foursquare.

What about Twitter to Facebook and Back?

I’ve been asked repeatedly about a service like, which allows you to post multiple updates from one status bar, seeding those updates into Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere all with one push. With much respect to the people who MAKE the service, I’m not a fan, and here’s why.

The Facebook community (people who live on FB instead of Twitter) don’t much want tweet-level interactions with people. They like their back and forth to be a bit meatier, and also they want people to use the richness of the tool. Every “@davidbthomas – lol!” is a thorn in their side. Using a hashtag on FB (unless perhaps when you’re being jokey) isn’t often well-received either.

My personal advice? Even if you intend to update both similarly, craft a different message for Facebook than you do for Twitter and decouple the interactions.

Ditto Twitter into LinkedIn. When I’m looking at your LinkedIn status and it’s just a bunch of lame tweets because you thought it’d save you time, I “hide” your LinkedIn status. Suddenly, any chance you had of capturing my attention is gone in a blink, and it won’t come back, because no one ever goes, “Hmmm, it just doesn’t seem like I have enough status update messages to read.” Am I wrong?

It’s All Open to Interpretation

You don’t have to do it the way I’m talking about above. You can swear that your tool of choice is the best one. You can argue for I don’t mind. Besides, you’re doing it wrong. But these might be some things to consider, as you hone your usage of social media tools.

What do you think? How are you doing it differently? Any questions similar to what I’ve covered above? Anything where you’re just plain curious about some OTHER set of tools or interactions? Go ahead and ask in the comments. There are no stupid questions! (Not true, but I promise not to laugh at YOUR stupid question.) runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • paul martin

    Or as we say in bonnie Scotland “Horses for Courses”

    • Chris Brogan

      Love it. : ) 

  • dblais

    I completely agree with formating your message differently for each of your channel.
    Once every couple weeks, i will have a fb status update and a linkedIn status update that will include a hashtag. Even though a lot of those readers will not have twitter, many new connections do and they may not be yet following my twitter account.

    This has for purpose to remind my linkedIn contacts that my twitter account is active and to also to also increase awareness for a particular hashtag.

    I haven’t measure yet how effective this is, but it seems to be working well for me.


    • Rick Manelius

      That’s a cool idea. So to clarify, you’re not linking them together, but simply dropping a hash tag in there as a teaser to alert others (who know and use twitter) that they can find you on twitter?

      Have you found that this works? Or have you tried the not as subtle “I’m also on twitter” notification?

      • dblais

        The not so subtle “I’m also on twitter” may not be well received.  Maybe package it differently ex: “On twitter this morning, there was….bla”  or “I can’t believe what so and so tweeted about…” etc

        But then again… in moderation. 

        • Rick Manelius

          Yeah. I’m all for subtle. I just also know that sometimes, people need to be asked more directly (e.g. ‘would you like to sign up for my newsletter?’).

          Definitely a great tip. I’ll use it sparingly and see what happens.

    • Chris Brogan

      Interesting. I haven’t tried that but might give it a go. : ) 

      • dblais

        Would this would have as much benefits for you Chris because your have built a strong network on twitter?  Do you have linkedIn connections that aren’t following your tw account?

        If you have a client based that is newer to twitter and are also on your other channel, using a “follow #mycampaign on twitter” type of message may actually encourage newer users to engage a bit more and use twitter more.   I’m just thinking outlouds, other pros and cons you can think of?

  • Rick Manelius

    I also agree with the advice to not pipe twitter posts directly into facebook. First, the audiences are completely different. Second, the style of posting on facebook is generally more personal versus twitter is better at sharing FYI style information.

    I used to have my tweets go into facebook, but I definitely cringed when I saw them littering my profile page…  I didn’t want to censor my tweets. But I also know that my facebook friends are not as interested about #drupal, #seo, #meditation, etc as some twitter followers might be.

    • Chris Brogan

      Right. It’s a matter of speaking to the crowd that’s there, and about what they want. 

  • ianbrodie

    Thank you so much for the point about the Linkedin & Facebook crowd not wanting to be inundated with tweets. That also applies even if you’re a regular twitter user, maybe even more so. You use FB & LI for different things.


    • Chris Brogan

      True that, Ian. Glad you saw that. 

  • Nancy Davis

    I have been trying to use TweetDeck and I hate it. I am so used to the single page Twitter that I have a much harder time keeping up.

    What can I do so that it is a bit easier to use? Since I follow over 350 people and have about 450 followers, I am finding it much harder to keep up. I need to figure out a better way to use Twitter, especially since I will be Tweeting for my job very soon.

    Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

    • Chris Brogan

      Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are pretty much the same to get used to, just FYI. They take a while. 

      • Gina Kay Landis

        I detest Tweetdeck – it crashes, its GUI isn’t that cool… but Hootsuite? Rocks. Yeah.

        Gina Kay Landis

      • Nancy Davis

        I am glad to know this. I was thinking it was me. I guess I will keep trying. Going to bookmark this post to refer to. I need to make better use of my time on Twitter. Thanks for this post Chris. It really helps.

  • Nancy Davis

    I have been trying to use TweetDeck and I hate it. I am so used to the single page Twitter that I have a much harder time keeping up.

    What can I do so that it is a bit easier to use? Since I follow over 350 people and have about 450 followers, I am finding it much harder to keep up. I need to figure out a better way to use Twitter, especially since I will be Tweeting for my job very soon.

    Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

  • Shel Horowitz-Green Marketer

    Chris, I used to automatically feed my Twitter into Facebook, but I found it annoyed people. Instead, I installed the Selective Twitter app in Facebook, which allows me to individually choose which tweets to share. they go to Facebook if I include the hashtag #fb, and to Linked in with #in. These seems like the best of both worlds, and I haven’t noticed people in FB and LI complaining about hashtags. I have my blog go to all three plus Plaxo.

    But there are plenty of times when I hand-craft a message in FB or LI without porting it through Twitter, especially for follow-up conversations on FB, and grou participation on LI.

    On a related note, I have a tool that automatically records a synthesized audio of all my blog posts. But for the ones I really care about, I record individually in Cinchcast–usually half a day to a full day later, so I get more exposure for the blog on Twitter (which is automatically notified by Cinch).

    @Nancy Davis: I LOVE TweetDeck! It allows me to segment not only my @ messages and DMs, but also the people I really want to follow, plus some specific searches (like my most recent book title), and to see the whole thing quickly and easily. However, I didn’t love it until I turned off the sound notification for new incoming tweets.

    • Chris Brogan

      Oh, I don’t know that app, but it sounds really neat. : ) 

  • Atul Karmarkar

    I’m completely opposed to automated cross posting across various social media platforms. The audience is different, the context is different, even the ‘language’ is different – not everyone on FB understands what “RT” means or when you post a tweet to FB, or even what hashtags mean. 

    In case someone does wish to share a tweet to FB, they can always use the #fb tag, and #li for LinkedIn – which is ok, as long as they’re done selectively.

    Of late, one of my worst nightmares has come true – people’s foursquare checkins *shudders* coming up in LinkedIn. Seeing them on Twitter was bad enough and I wonder what more is in store!

  • Anonymous

    Are there any developers out there who could make hashtags clickable on Facebook?  That would help solve a lot of cross-interaction problems:)

    • Aidan

      Anyone can make their hashtags clickable by creating them as a twitter search link. Just type your hashtag into Twitter search then use the url from your address bar once Twitter has returned the results. Happy days!

      • Gina Kay Landis

        I’m guilty (yes, yes I am) of using hashtags on FB. But, I don’t particularly care, because of the portability of the language usage from one platform to another. Not searchable? Well that’s ok. But if people are used to seeing #Dayton on Twitter and see it on FB, whether they agree that it’s a waste of a hashtag character, it may still catch their attention. I also hashtag jokey stuff just for fun. Kind of less obnoxious than bolding the joke, but not too much less.  As an early adopter I blanch at the should do – should not do- mindset of some, because the mediums are changing pretty rapidly.
        Maybe I’m not within the realm of GOLLY!!! it SHOULD be done THIS WAY!! but then again… kind of dance to my own drumbeat, yanno?

        Gina Kay Landis

  • Anonymous

    Are there any developers out there who could make hashtags clickable on Facebook?  That would help solve a lot of cross-interaction problems:)

  • Anonymous

    Chris you point out how critical context is in relation to your content. Esp. the part about tweaking your post to suit what readers expect on Twitter vs. Facebook posts vs. LinkedIn updates. If one size fit all, we’d all be barefoot.

  • Matt Medeiros

    Don’t forget, these are “tools for tools.”

    Facebook and Twitter are tools to be social. I agree with Chris, Hootsuite is my preferred specialty tool! ;)

  • Anonymous

    I know I’m doing it wrong. But I don’t want to be right ;)

    Seriously, I don’t truly care what other people think, or why they think I’m here, however, ever since others decided that I should care, my follower count has tapered off. I don’t care about this, either, however, I’m wondering why. I have radically reduced my tweeting, as I’ve been doing for lack of a better term, real work. Oh, and apparently, this will be my thousandth Disqus comment, so, I guess that’s some sort of milestone to be celebrated.

    Maybe the answer is I’ve found my niche, and it’s a small one, however, I’d hate for that to be the answer….

  • Gina Kay Landis

    Interesting stuff… I agree about porting Twitter into LinkedIn (and into FB for that matter) – unless I’m a good buddy of the tweeter, I don’t care to see a bunch of single-word or exclamatory tweets.

    However I do take issue with the Foursquare situation – people may have brief meetings at various coffeeshops around town – take real estate for example – recruiting appointments rarely last an hour. Listing or buyer appointments may be as simple as a sign-off on documents or exchange of paperwork or even keys. A recruiting appointment may necessarily take place across town rather in the agent’s current brokerage’s backyard coffeeshop… you catch the drift, yes? :) No lame or stoopid questions though… I’ll spare you!

    Gina Kay Landis

  • Theresa Ceniccola

    Great post, Chris! I totally agree on the automated cross-posting on different platforms. But I have a question about Facebook – how do you feel about small biz owners posting the same thing on their PERSONAL FB status update as well as on their BUSINESS FB Fan Page? Consistently. 

    Again – seems like a ‘time saver’ for the busy solo-preneur (and platform is the same with similar audience) but also potentially a turn off to those who are both friends and fans. Yes?


    • kemp

      Hi Theresa,
      I think you’ve answered your own question. Most of your friends are most likely fans of your small business as they want to support you. I would shy away from posting to both at once. When my friends have done this I eventually hide one of the feeds because of the duplication. Try using something like HootSuite to schedule/stagger your messages by 3+ hours. This way your audience especially those major supporters will have two opportunities to see your posts.

  • Raul Colon

    Those are the Many Twitters people are talking about. On my side I am a big fan of hootsuite I use it for many things and cross platforms. I also try to keep up with its functionality to make sure I can use it to its fullest. 

    I really liked the idea on taking your twitter feeds and putting them into your google reader :) 

    I agree on keeping your messages apart from each other. 

    On my side to keep track of messages I have twittelator on my Ipad which keeps a good amount of messages stored without losing the info. I wish there was a better way to manage private messages via twitter for future reference. 

  • Jerry Charles

    Hi Chris, thanks for the tidbit about converting a twitter search to RSS and then into Google Reader. I’ve been using TweetDeck for everything and needed a better way to follow various hashtag conversations.

  • Amie Gillingham

    I think you make some excellent points. The netiquette of each platform kind of dictates that some share-alls across platforms simply aren’t welcome. That’s part of why I decided to use selective tweets for FB so that I can decide what’s important or interesting (or simply stand-alone-y) enough to share between the platforms. Gowalla sharing on Twitter/FB? Sure, but I tend to share only when I’m doing something of actual interest to people who aren’t me (and occasionally to prove I have a life since I’ve been a web worker for a decade +. )

  • Tony Elam

    Also when people use Hootsuite, and they send out an update for all of their pages at the same time.  It’s kinda of annoying to see a simultaneous dump of the same post across the board on two fan pages, personal page and a couple of twitter pages of the same person.  It seems like they should space that out somewhat.  Also for some, each fan page on Facebook is supposed to be for different things.  I don’t want updates about other topics on that page.

    • kemp

      Great point! I advise people to use something like HootSuite to schedule/stagger messages by 3+ hours whether it’s multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook or any other network. Your biggest fans are following and liking you on most of your accounts. Try not to be lazy and push the same message out of multiple accounts at exactly the same time.
      This way your audience especially those major supporters will have two opportunities to see your posts.

  • Anonymous

    As always, you’re totally right! I totally cringe/laugh when I see @mentions:twitter on Facebook, and posting your Foursquare check-ins to your social sites is the quickest way to get hidden!

    And Hootsuite is the best tool for admins, (when used responsibly).

  • Ally pepper

    Thats useful I am new to Twitter and trying to learn everything I can. I need to promote my small business. Is there a right and a wrong way to do this?

  • Gerry

    My pet hate is people who have their Facebook status feeding in to twitter. Half the time it’s more than 140 characters and you miss half the message. Then you look on Linkedin and see the same thing again. 3 different networks should have 3 different messages. Sometimes it may be appropriate to post the same to all networks but not everytime.

  • Felicia Fibro

    Said well! I wish more people used social media like this

  • Social Media Marketing Plus

    “My personal advice? Even if you intend to update both similarly, craft a different message for Facebook than you do for Twitter and decouple the interactions.” = good advice. That’s one of the reasons I installed RockMelt.

  • Malik

    I do like different status for different platform even though it’s spreading from a single place.

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