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February 12, 2009

The Middle Sliver

In this post: When social networks overlap, do friends/followers, too? …

Jaimy Szymanski | Social MediaRemember in grade-school, when the teacher would have you draw a Venn diagram comparing two different topics? Then, within that small middle overlap sliver, you’d write what they had in common (in tiny, itty-bitty handwriting of course – as I never made the two main circles large enough to begin with).

I thought of that middle sliver today when comparing facebook and twitter. Not their assets, or popularity or features. Rather, who I connect with on each.

Fb: 99% I’ve met in person at one point. I would say I know everyone well or very well – Even though it’s nearly 300 friends.

Tw: 2% I’ve met in person. I don’t know these followers/who I’m following nearly as well – only their broad interests and industries. Some are obviously outliers who I have engaged in meaningful conversation with. Also, nearly 300 followers here.

So, what about that middle sliver? Those who I am facebook friends with and also twitter pals? I kid you not: the overlap amount is less than 10 people.

Why is that? How could I build two nearly identically sized networks on completely different social platforms? I think it boils down to two reasons: Time of adoption and reason for adoption.

I had facebook first – joined it because I wanted to keep track of all my real-world friends and share photos/videos of events. I joined twitter just last year, to keep track of industry buzz, interesting thought-leaders and virtual friends.

And, to tell the truth, when first joining twitter, I thought to myself: “Self, isn’t this just like updating your facebook status?” And, it is. But, the purpose behind why I use it is different, so I still maintained the use of both.

Will I ever use one or the other? No way. Even if, someday, the individuals in both of my networks are exactly the same (and, no one has thought to COMBINE THESE TOOLS – hint hint all you developers out there), I will still keep them both running because they are useful for different reasons, in different instances.

I understand that not everyone would be crazy enough to maintain two seperate networks like I am. But then again, I’m kind of a junkie. The social media kind, not the “This is your brain on drugs” kind.

(Wait, what about LinkedIn? ……… Exactly.)