There is more to social media than Twitter and Facebook


I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last but I’m getting a bit bored of reading that social media is all about Twitter (or maybe I’m getting bored of reading about Twitter?)

It isn’t. And it never will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. Most of the time.

And most of the time, it loves me back.

But people – there is a world outside Twitter.

I worry about the marketers who think as long as they have a Twitter account they have their social media bases covered.

No. You. Don’t.

I should be thankful that there’s so much interest in Twitter – most of the popular posts on my site from the past 12 months are about Twitter.

This all goes back to what I’ve said before: social media is a silly term. Misleading in fact.

There are many tools ‘out there’ that allow you and me and many others to talk to each other online including Facebook, Twitter et al. Many (most?) websites let you communicate through comments or using sharing tools.

In fact, the internet in general lets us all communicate with each other and have ongoing dialogue. That’s why it’s called ‘the social web.’

So to focus on one website (Twitter) is a mistake. It’s also foolish for websites dedicated to social media to largely be trumpeting Twitter.

There is so much more out there.

And if we’re to teach communication professionals (and anyone else willing to listen) about the benefits of the social web we’re not doing those folks any favours by remaining so narrow-minded.

This isn’t a case of me listing for you all the sites, in addition to Twitter, that make up the collective we call ‘social media tools.’

I’m talking about the entire internet. This blog. Your comments and so much more.

The internet has given us a way to talk to each other. To listen to each other. To share. To create. To manipulate content.

If you’re a communications professional, for the love of God, don’t let Twitter cloud your vision of what social media really is.


  1. RyanMcMahon says

    Great point.

    I see alot of small biz spam the hell out of twitter and facebook and it's really obvious that they have NO marketing/promotions plan other than sending out their message to their “followers” 5-6 times a day. I find that to be as effective as a small business owner standing in front of his shop 5-6 times daily and holding a cardboard sign promoting his “amazing deals” or “fantastic giveaways.” #fail.

    I always give this analogy: go to a party/gathering and tell someone a story (a short one please). Then, about 10 minutes later, find that same person and tell them the same story. Repeat that process 5-6 more times THEN see if they want to talk to you after that. THEY WON'T.

    Social networking is a conversation/sharing with like minded people. My social networking experience is different from yours or the next persons because WE MAKE THE EXPERIENCE WHAT WE WANT IT TO BE. If you go to industry mixers, no one wants to “mix” with the person that simply says the same thing over and over and over and over.

  2. I agree with you Ryan. I think this also speaks to people's failure to nurture meaningful relationships online. It all comes down to give and take. And in the scenario's you describe the relationship is very one-way. Thanks for giving a clear description of how people should NOT be using Twitter.

  3. jcorn says

    I absolutely agree with you, Liz. I find Twitter to be one tool among many for writers to network, share tips, spread information and more. If I find myself promoting myself more than other people, I know I need to step back and get some perspective.

    I try to retweet intriguing or worthwhile info from others. I'm looking at the list function because I have many interests so I don't want a scattershot approach to any info shared. Some of my followers may want only to share writing information while others have different interests. How do you (or anyone here) handle this?

  4. Kudos! You're already aware that I'm taking a Twitter break — it's been nearly a week so far, and I have no intention to return anytime soon. After spending nearly every day, and multiple times every day, tweeting this and that, I've had enough… and I'm reaping the success of my earned-back time. I am so productive, I am so accomplished in what I am doing during my waking hours that my sleep cycles allow me to rest. I'm no longer caring to even look at the tweet stream of who says what when.

    There are so many people in the world who don't use Twitter, that it's about time the Kool-Aid drinkers take a break like me. Like you say, it's a tool. There are many tools in the shed.

  5. bztat says

    I agree with you, Liz, and all your commenters.

    I respond to tweets and FB status updates that open up a dialog and a conversation. I don't respond to those that just blare a deal or marketing campaign in my face. I resent someone filling my feeds with junk.

    But it doesn't stop there. I find articles, blog posts and other items of interest that take me well beyond the initial conversation opener. I am learning about entrepreneurship, using social media effectively, and how to use technology–all from people I have met on the web from various sites. I find others who are strong in areas that I am weak that help me build my capacities, and I am able to give back vice versa.

    And I have built a customer base for my artwork simply by sharing my images and interacting with people in a fun yet genuine way. Although I am constantly marketing in a sense, I rarely do any kind of outright advertising. I like it that way, because I am not one who enjoys doing the hard sell. I like just sharing my work, and those who want to explore it further, contact me via a variety of communication routes.

    All of my social media activities ultimately feed back to each other, which is a very enriching process.

  6. I think you have to hope that other folks are filtering their information too so if you post non-writing related items, people not interested will tune out. Personally I do two things:

    1) I have an amazing ability to scan through crap and noise pausing to read only those things that interest me.

    2) I use lists a lot on Twitter and sometimes remove people from my news feed on Facebook if they are clogging up the page.

  7. Hey Ari – Last summer I was away from a computer for two weeks with occasional access to Twitter through my husband's iPhone. And I didn't miss it. There was life before Twitter and guess what, life is still there without it.

  8. Hey Vicki – this is pretty much my own experience. This is why I value the web. There are so many unexpected rewards from online interaction.

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