I will admit it off the bat: The title for this blog post is ridiculous. First of all, who would WANT to cross-post stuff from one social network to another, like from Twitter to Facebook? Second of all, what’s with all the cryptic lingo? Visibli? “Selective Tweets?” Are we working for AT&T here or on a special, acronym-filled military project? Nope. Just dealing with a relatively new challenge in the world of social media: How to decide where to “live” virtually amidst so many social networks and how (or if) content should be posted in multiple places at the same time.

My wife got a Facebook account about six months ago, and for the first month she frequently threatened to “unfriend” me because of the more-often-than-not senseless drivel I was sharing on my profile. Her feedback, and other discussions I’ve had recently, finally pushed me over the edge to make a change. I searched for a way to limit the “tweets” which I shared over on Facebook.

Ginger Lumen shared a post earlier today on Google Plus (G+) questioning the value of cross-posting. My response was:

Having dabbled a lot in this cross-posting scene (and made a lot of mistakes) I think the key, if someone is going to do it, is to be selective. Conversation stuff isn’t good to cross post, but link shares are. Part of this is just a question where you want to ‘live’ digitally. I gave Plurk a try, but was/am so invested in Twitter that I didn’t think I could leave it behind for Plurk. I don’t know what I think about G+ yet. I’m not sure I want to live here as much as I live in Twitter. But maybe I’ll use it in different ways? These are important issues. We should have a webshow on Seedlings about this!

Reasons to consider cross-posting SOME content between social networks, if you like to share things like good links from time to time, are:

  • People “live” in different networks. If you just share on Twitter, for instance, people who are not on Twitter but use Facebook might not be able to see a link you share.
  • Posting once and having that content go more than one place saves time. It takes more time to visit two sites and post the same thing there, so posting something once and having it cross-post to another place is efficient.

These things being said, it definitely doesn’t make sense to cross-post short replies on Twitter like “@gingertplc thanks” on Facebook. That’s a direct reply to Ginger, saying thanks, but it really doesn’t add value to other people’s lives to see it. That’s particularly true on Facebook, where “@username” posts don’t make sense. They are “clickable” on Twitter, but not on Facebook.

The “solution” I found and have been trying to limit my cross-posts from Twitter to Facebook is a free Facebook application called “Selective Tweets.” It lets you link your Twitter and Facebook accounts for cross-posting, but ONLY cross-post Tweets which you include “#fb” (without quotations) at the end of your Tweet.

This solution seemed to be working fine for me, and definitely cut down the volume of posts I shared on Facebook, but recently I activated an account on Visibli which caused some problems. For reasons I didn’t anticipate or fully understand, Visibli caused all my designated Twitter posts which I wanted to cross-post to Facebook to post TWICE. A double-cross post. Not good.

I didn’t want to deactivate my Visibli account just yet, because the metrics the free service collects do look interesting and possibly worth keeping… but I HAD to get this problem fixed. I experimented with my settings, and it turns out by turning OFF “auto-tracking” in Visibli for my Twitter account, the mysterious “double-cross posting to Facebook” problem was solved.

Avoid Visibli Double Cross-Posts

So now you know the rest of the story. :-)

Is ALL cross-posting a good thing, from one social network to another? I don’t think so. Intentional, selective cross-posting can be good. I’m delighted free apps like Selective Tweets are available to help with this. Now, I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with and on Google+. I’ve been using and working with my Google+ account this week and like lots of things about the site… but I’m not sure I want to “move” from Twitter or FB. There are not any tools yet, which I’ve heard about, for cross-posting to G+ from other sites. I’m not completely sure I want to. Perhaps G+ will become “a different space” for different kinds of collaboration. Already I can see different social discussion dynamics than what I see on either Twitter or Facebook. I posted on G+ today about a suspected “spam” follower, and the conversation/feedback on that thread has been great. For me, the jury’s still out on G+.

I’m delighted, however, to have solved my Facebook “double-cross post mystery,” however!

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  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    I cross-post stuff all the time. Everything i tweet on Twitter also goes into Facebook. I get two reply streams back (and the Facebook one is more reliable, because responses come back via email). It lets those who want to follow me in Twitter do so there, and those who are more comfortable in facebook to follow me there. And because I have it set up to work automatically, it doesn’t involve twice the work. And nobody misses out or feels insulted because I’m not using ‘their’ technology.

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