I am not a social media guru.
A lot of the advice in here will be old news to you PhDs in social networking (graduation requirement: Tweet a lot). There are tons of ways to update and read your Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously, with more emerging every day. Some have been around for ages in Internet time — like, multiple years.
The easiest method is classic copy ’n’ paste, but then you’re flipping between browser tabs, selecting text — it’s a usability nightmare. We’re busy — 140 characters is a lot to ask of us already!
Facebook has built-in functionality at apps.facebook.com/twitter. It simply grabs every Tweet you make, except direct @replies to other users, and posts them as status updates. Twitter’s character limit tends to make Tweets a bit weird to read, though, with abbreviations and such, and some folks Tweeting a lot can end up spamming their Facebook friends with an endless stream of short almost-sentences.
The simple fix is Selective Tweet Status. Set it up at apps.facebook.com/selectivetwitter, and then add “#fb” at the end of any tweet you want on Facebook. Easy! Sure, it robs you of a few precious characters, but it works from any Twitter platform and lets you choose exactly which messages to post in both places.
More elegant solutions involve third-party applications or websites. Twitter has just acquired one of the most popular programs, TweetDeck, which can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Apple iOS, Android and as a Chrome browser add-on. They’re testing an iPad and Web-based portal too.
Arranged in columns, TweetDeck links to Foursquare, Google Buzz and other accounts as well as Facebook and Twitter, depending on what device you’ve installed it on. Click what accounts you want to update per message. You can add media like photos and videos, and an automatic link shortener will reduce the number of characters you need to use to share Web addresses.
HootSuite is aimed at corporate and team-based usage of social networks, so signing up as an individual user can look a bit intimidating. Just ignore all the Team Member and payment stuff and get a free account. Like TweetDeck, you can configure a bunch of columns for your various networks, but it’s all in your browser. You can even broadcast updates from your RSS feeds and any WordPress blogs you might have. It updates your streams automatically, but at least on my computer, it seemed slower in general than TweetDeck.
One nice feature of HootSuite is message scheduling, so you can pre-write messages to go out all day long without logging in from work. Nobody does that, right? It’s also available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
The main problem with any of these applications is that Facebook or Twitter might revoke their access at any time. You used to be able to update Twitter using the Facebook app fb2twitter, but that’s been stymied several times by policy and design updates.
Blackberry and iPhone app UberTwitter was shut out during a trademark dispute last year, but under the new name UberSocial, it’s one of the most popular mobile updaters out there.
My Twitter username? I thought you’d never ask! It’s @CitizenjaQ, and my number of followers is pitiful so far. Tell me your favorite updating app!