In the last week or so I’ve noticed something about my own use of Facebook and Twitter. I’v e always used the networks in different ways, for different purposes but increasingly I’m marking that difference in another way too – through the level of noise I will endure.
Facebook I use mainly for keeping in touch with friends – people I knew in real life before online and a few online folks who I’d now consider to be more than a passing acquaintance. My main reason for being on Facebook now though is that many people I want to stay in touch with online aren’t active on any other network – they keep me there rather than anything else.
Twitter on the other hand I use constantly and for many purposes – talking about online comms for work and study, being a mum, social media cafes, music, and random conversation.
I definitely favour one network over the other and this is only becoming more pronounced as I’ve noticed that updates from my friends are fewer and further between on Facebook now. I’ve exaggerated this shushing of the chatter by deliberately removing other stuff from my stream.
I’ve liked more than my fair share of pages and joined a good number of groups but now I hardly see anything from them because I’ve chosen not to see their updates in my stream. This means that all the brands I’ve ever liked and even local gov pages I’ve joined to be inspired to are now belming into the void when it comes to reaching me.
I won’t see their updates and therefore I won’t like or comment on them, neither will I share them with my network. I’d have to go out of my way to visit their space and, to be honest, that isn’t going to happen. So, with local gov in mind, I wonder how much activity on Facebook is actually broadcast? How many other people like me are either actively removing this stuff from their stream, having it removed as the algorithm ranks it lower than their childhood next door neighbours latest Bejewelled score or are just ignoring it even though it’s appearing?
On the other hand I don’t filter the noise on Twitter at all. I currently follow about 700 people, probably too many, but if they tweet it appears in my stream. I might not see it because I’m offline but I don’t use lists to actually group people to control the noise. I don’t see many organisational tweets because I don’t follow many organisations.
I guess all of this, while personal to me and the way I use the networks, got me thinking about how much organisations really know about the people that sign up to them on a network. And (a question rearing its head more and more frequently) how do they really measure their success and justify their time? Yes, you might have 5000 people signed up to your Facebook page but if only 3 of them are actually reading your updates and are interested enough to like or comment is it worth it?
As usual I’ve only got as far as asking questions and so I don’t have any possible answers to offer here. I’m keeping an eye on my own usage though and am thinking about what an organisation could do to grab my interest, hold it and tip me over to talking with them online.
(As a final offering I give you the earworm I’ve gained through all this talk of noise – Slade’s Come on Feel the Noize. I’ve amended the spelling of that title to avoid any more sp*m 😉 )