Facebook Quandries and Twitter as a Garden (Twarden?)

As mentioned previously, in class today we discussed the dilemma many are facing over who, exactly, to add on Facebook. No, seriously, it’s a dilemma!

Do you keep it strictly Real Friends, and exclude possible professional contacts? Or do you add professional contacts or sources and severely edit what you post, thereby somewhat limiting its social usefulness among People Who Actually Know You? Are privacy settings enough to keep it all under control? Or do you (grooooaaaaaan) create 2 Facebook pages?

This has been a particularly relevant question for me. Since leaving MobuzzTV, I’ve had about 80 people friend me on Facebook who I don’t know but who followed the program. I’ve added very few, and those adds were somewhat arbitrary – I added some people early on who I recognized from comments or previous emails while friending others just because it was Tuesday and I was feeling sociable.

But I kept all their invites thinking “someday I’ll expand this professionally and it would be good to have these folks around as a potential sounding board/audience.” I am probably going to add them any day now, but not before reviewing all my privacy options, filters, limited profile settings, etc… And I also think I should send them an email explaining why, after perhaps a couple years since being friended, I am only now accepting.

Making it a professional took means limiting it in certain ways, and it also makes me nervous thinking what someone else might post which might not be part of the online presence I want to cultivate. Its a grand experiement, and we’ll see how it goes.
Then there’s Twitter. My relationship with Twitter can be characterized as “love-ignore.” I use it, tweet some blog posts, find a couple cool links from other people, then forget it exists for 2 weeks (or 3 months, whatever).

Twitter is like a garden, and needs to be constantly cultivated, so that you’re not following too many people, and only those relevant to you. I kill plants. Always. Have never kept more than a cactus alive for any amount of time. This takes a discipline I know I lack.

So I’m giving myself Twitter Gardening Homework every day this week. Today for example, I vowed to find 10 people to follow – either public figures, probably in journalism, or groups/individuals associated with my pet interest, immigration policy. Who did I pick?

  1. @democracynow
  2. @maddow – yup, Rachel
  3. @NYTimesKrugman – cuz I needs to keep up on my economicz readin’
  4. @nprpolitics
  5. @TheEconomist
  6. @thenation
  7. @globalvoices – an international bloggers’ site I stumbled across cuz of this Guardian interview
  8. @ImmPolitic – following the National Immigration Forum
  9. @weareoneamerica – another immigrant’s rights advocacy group [UPDATE: link appears broken but tweets keep coming]
  10. @stephenfry – because, um, well, I think he’s awesome and that I need to have one totally frivolous celebrity add. And because he tweets cool stuff like this, occasionally.

Tomorrows Twitter Homework (Twomework?): Start using Twitpic. I am soooo behind the curve, I know.



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2 responses to “Facebook Quandries and Twitter as a Garden (Twarden?)

  1. May I suggest? @newmediajim @maddowblog and of course, everyone’s favorite puppy @dogwalkblog (ok, I edit that.. but still!!)

    If you are looking at a model for people who are actively in journalism and use twitter, @newmediajim is a good guy to watch and learn from

  2. alecpatton

    I can’t tell you how flattering it is to see my ‘Simpsons/Shakespeare’ post invoked as a reason to follow @Stephenfry!

    I advise following him as well, but for ‘cool stuff like this’, I humbly suggest going straight to the source and following @alecpatton!

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