I'll admit… the recent announcement of the breakup between Twitter and LinkedIn warmed my heart. No longer will people be able to just mindlessly blast their Twitter updates into LinkedIn without having to actually log in and engage.
While I know others share my glee, what are the pros and cons of cross-linking your Twitter account to other networks? Since Facebook still allows this practice, it's still happening. While it drives me nuts, I'll admit there are some advantages if used politely – but almost on one ever does.
So what are the pros?
It's efficient. There's no denying that we're all getting busier and have limited time to keep up with multiple social networks. By auto-posting from one to another, you are certainly saving time. Pretty cut and dry.
Additionally, if you are marketing on social media, it does expand your reach. However…
One of the downsides of linking these accounts together is the “weird syntax” factor. Twitter conversations include symbols specific to this network, like “@” symbols and hashtags (see: what is a hashtag?). If Facebook users see these characters in their news feeds, you run the risk of alienating them because your posts look confusing and odd. This decreases engagement.
Additionally, effective social media usage usually involves listening, and if you are cross-linking updates then you have no reason to log in and talk to anyone. You're stuck in broadcast mode.
It's bad when going in the other direction, too. I see people that push their Facebook updates to Twitter, as well, which results in truncated updates (like this) or even worse, orphan links with no explanation (like this).
Finally – it's just plain annoying, right? Aren't we tired of seeing lazy status updates full of out-of-context symbols and truncated tweets?
Set Your Profiles Free
I would recommend taking this opportunity to preemptively unlink your Facebook and Twitter accounts and start actually participating on each network with intention. I predict you'll see higher levels of engagement and you'll be using them the way they were intended: as social networks.