Dr. Twuth–Facebook Launches Twit+

Dr. Twuth–Because social media shouldn’t make you want to slam your head in a door.

Welcome to Tuesdays with Dr. Twuth, here to answer all your questions, problems and concerns about social media. Since social media (done properly) involves interacting with other humans, it is just a good plan to have an advice column handy to help navigate the emotional waters of keeping thousands of friends happy and speaking to us.

My alter ego, Dr. Twuth can be counted on to give you the best information on social media. And, since a spoon full of sugar humor, makes the I’d rather be punched in the face than read about social media marketing medicine go down, fun is always a guarantee here with me, Dr. Twuth, Text Therapist. The tips offered here are all based off my #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media  and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer.

If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach ALL social media differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule social media–regardless of platform–without devolving into a spam bot. If social media makes you want to slam your head in a door, then you are in the right place. Just call on Dr. Twuth, because the Twuth will set you free.

On to our peeps in need…

Dear Dr. Twuth,

I just read an article describing the new Facebook system of subscribing and I am wondering what you think of random people being able to subscribe to our FB pages and see updates? Is that something we should do if we don’t yet have a fan page? Will the subscribe feature replace fan pages? If we do put a subscribe button, do we allow comments from subscribers who are not friends? I fear random spammers subscribing to everyone and leaving comments about cheap viagra. I post different things on FB and Twitter because all of my FB friends are people I know in real life.

Signed,

Spooked by Subscriptions

(Emma Burcart www.emmaburcart.com)

Dear Spooked,

Facebook, like any social site, needs to grow and adapt in order to survive. Some adaptations are useful, and others not so much. Just go ask the whale that had legs….wait, you can’t. Apparently he was eaten before he could have kids. And that nifty eye in the back of its head seemed so promising.

Social sites are all in competition with each other, and, if they see that people are gravitating in large numbers to a competing social platform, they call together all the most brilliant and creative minds in the technology world…to copy what the other site is doing.

Think of Queen Bees in high school. MySpace used to be the reigning Bee, but once everyone had a date with her they went chasing after Facebook, the new girl in school with the Ivy League background. Poor MySpace dressed in even flashier flash and shamelessly copied Facebook until it was just kinda…sad. It seems now that the reigning Facebook Bee is now getting a dose of her own medicine, with Geek Chic G+ and Talk of the Town Twitter. Instead of feeling secure and just being Facebook, she is now pulling a MySpace and looking too much at others instead of just being herself.

The downside of this is it is just weird and sad and kinda pisses off everyone who already likes Facebook for being Facebook. Your real friends don’t need you to change to like you. They already do. So now that Facebook has a spray tan and speaks with a fake British accent, it’s just…off-putting. This confuses, perplexes and annoys people loyal to Facebook. We keep reminding her of MySpace and how she had to leave school to “go live with an aunt” *wink, wink*, but it’s no use.

The upside is that so long as Facebook can keep the flash and pop ups at bay, these changes might be fine….if she will leave them alone long enough for any of us to get used to them.

Back to your question about subscriptions. I had only fleetingly heard of this change–FB changes her look more than Lady Gaga–so I put on my “expert” hat and did some thorough scientific testing (I punched a lot of buttons and yelled at my screen). After a thorough analysis, I believe Facebook might be on to something. Social media has always been about human connection, but I do think there were some initial mistakes made that Facebook is now trying to correct…by copying Twitter and G+. But in fairness, if someone solves your problem, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Instead, Facebook has launched Twit+, with the feed feature of Twitter and the privacy control of G+. Twit+ has some promising features.

(I made up the name Twit +…but seems appropriate to me. Maybe they can offer me money for the rights…or not).

It’s a tad less weird.

FB originally had people becoming a “fan” of others, but this smacked of a wee bit too much emotional commitment than most people felt comfortable with. Thus, it make it easier when we could simply “Like” people. There are people on Facebook that have a lot of information I’d like to be privy to, but it’s tough sending a Friend Request. Jane Friedman, editor at Writer’s Digest, posts some amazing content, but it isn’t like we are going to stay up late talking about boys and braiding each other’s hair. Thus, to just be able to “subscribe” to her public posts makes me feel less like a stalker, and Jane feel less like prey.

Subscribing to a feed is passive and unidirectional and makes us privy only to the person’s public posts. Let’s face it, some people we like as information hubs. The subscription, to me, is just all round less…icky.

Twit + might make it easier to keep on top of relevant feeds.

I think FB is now looking at ways to make sure we can get people in our feeds that we care about. For some reason, I can’t see my friends in my feeds, but I can see some weird guy from Peru who writes about erotic llama massage. Yeah, I need to go organize my peeps…after I get through my Circles.

Anyway, not being able to keep up with preferred feeds has been a source of much controversy. In Twitter, I can use Tweet Deck to easily keep up and FB knows this….ergo Twit +.

Twit+ actually can help us balance our private side and public side. 

Twitter is fun and awesome, but there is a downside. EVERYTHING is public, unless you DM. But, you can only direct message one person at a time, so this could get cumbersome. Thus, if you are a celebrity author, like James Rollins, your life is out for the world to see. If you want to keep up with friends and family on social media, you need a separate account and that just is a headache. With Twit+, however, this problem is solved.

Unlike Twitter (and perhaps better) Jim could also make posts that only appear to certain groups (this is the copying G+ part). We (strangers) can subscribe to his FB feed and see about new books, signings, etc., anything that falls into a “public” post. But, if Jim wants to post things he doesn’t want the world to see, he just chooses the setting before hitting enter. Sort of like in G+ you can post to certain circles if you are posting a skydiving squirrel, but change it if you are talking trash about your boss.

Granted, we have always been able to select who saw what on FB, only NOW we have the added advantage of my next point.

Twit+ alleviates pressure on the 5000 friend ceiling.

I like having a regular FB page and am not thrilled with having to go to a fan page. In fact, I am putting it off as long as possible. It lacks the two-way communication I dig with the regular page. Ah, but as my “friend” numbers climb, I am growing ever closer to my regular page hitting critical mass, and then I will be forced over to the fan page. Facebook’s new Twit+ alleviates pressure off the 5000 person limit. Some people can simply subscribe and that frees up friend spaces for real fake friends.

I must confess that Facebook might be onto something with Twit+, but will she leave it alone long enough for us to care/catch on? That’s the real question. Is she pulling a MySpace, or is FB more like Lady Gaga than we realize? She wears s diamond lobster hat, and we laugh and feel kinda sorry for her….until Swarovski Shellfish become the hottest NY fashion *scratches head*.

At the end of the day, my advice to writers is to live your social media life as if your mother is reading every post. My mother actually is reading all of my posts. She is the governor on my stupidity. If I know I’ll get a call from Mom, I don’t post.

Writers are a new kind of celebrity and I feel the successful authors of the future are going to have to be much more interactive with their fan base. This is why I never ever post anything negative, refuse to take part in rants, and don’t give away loads of personal information. That new FB function where you can report your location???? Seriously? Are they working with Homeland Security now? But, that is for another day.

So Spooked, I wouldn’t concern myself too much with this. If you talk a lot to family and friends and don’t want the world to see (even via subscription) just go to your Privacy Settings and make your default setting Private. This way, when you have a post about your blog or your book that you want subscribers to see, you just change the setting for that particular post. And just apply the Mother Test and you will be fine.

All the best,

Dr. Twuth

See how easy this is? Do you have a social media dilemma? Is someone making you crazy? Do you feel alone, afraid or unsexy? Leave your question in the comments or if you would like to maintain anonymity, e-mail Dr. Twuth at kristen at kristen lamb dot org. Just put GIVE ME THE TWUTH in the subject line.

I am about love and offering a human touch to this digital world. My Dr. Twuth identity is #MyWANA certified, or certifiable, I can’t recall which. But, hey, it’s free so if you don’t like my advice, I promise to give you 100% refund (There will be a $15.99 processing fee for said refund).

Let me, Dr. Twuth, help you out. Remember, the Twuth will set you free.

Tweet ya later!

  1. #1 by Angela Wallace on September 27, 2011 - 10:23 am

    I hadn’t heard anything about Twit+ yet, though how could I with Facebook’s layout changing every time I log on? Does this mean I have yet more settings to tweak to my liking? *sigh*

  2. #2 by Kristie Kiessling (@Narratus) on September 27, 2011 - 10:25 am

    Marvelous, Kristen! Very well said. Though, I admit, when I read Twit+ I thought you were going to pick on fb for recent changes. ;D (Lady Gaga aside, that is… ) I should have known better!

  3. #3 by shawn on September 27, 2011 - 10:51 am

    And what about the skydiving squirrel?

  4. #4 by Mark Young (@MarkYoungBooks) on September 27, 2011 - 11:16 am

    Twit+? New to me. Still getting used to all the FB changes. Thanks for bringing it to our attention … with humor. Laughter makes change less painful.

    • #5 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2011 - 11:24 am

      Yes, I considered calling it MyTwitFace+/-You, but @Brian_Harrison are and I still in a legal battle over the movie rights of our imaginary social platform. So I figured Twit+ was a good description😀. Thanks!

  5. #6 by JM Randolph on September 27, 2011 - 11:22 am

    I’m glad to hear your take on this. I was considering going over to G+ because I was getting frustrated with the FB changes, but now it makes more sense to me. I like your thorough scientific testing. Are you going to have another post about G+ any time soon?

  6. #7 by Kathleen on September 27, 2011 - 11:30 am

    This is so interesting, thanks for your perspective Dr. Twuth. I hadn’t heard about Twit + yet. (Oops, I almost posted Tit +.) This could be dangerous for bad typists😉

    • #8 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 27, 2011 - 11:41 am

      Yeah, well they don’t know about Twit+ either. I am calling it that for lack of a better term, LOL. Yeah…the typos can get ya.

  7. #9 by Anne R. Allen on September 27, 2011 - 11:31 am

    Love the analogy of MySpace: flash popular girl; Facebook: Ivy League prep; Google+: Geek-chic. Me, I’ve always been into geek-chic, so FB is just annoying the heck out of me. But I’ll try to see it as another version of Twitter–party central. (But I still think it’s sad. Like some prep girl wearing a lobster on her head. If you’re not Lady Gaga, you’re not.)

  8. #10 by deborahjhughes on September 27, 2011 - 11:58 am

    Great post! Amusing and informative. Share worthy for sure. Thanks!!

  9. #11 by Catherine Johnson on September 27, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    That’s so cool. I didn’t know about Twit+. So if you are already friending a whole load of writers you don’t know very well, can you swap that over to subscribe only or just change your setting as you post? I’m really crap at doing that btw🙂

  10. #12 by Renee Schuls-Jacobson on September 27, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    I wish there could be a middle ground. I have a FB page for Lessons From Teachers and Twits (and as far as I’m concerned, I am the original Twit ), but it doesn’t have any momentum. Meanwhile my regular page keeps growing because I LIKE so many bloggers and have let them in the cyber-door. But I don’t want open subscriptions because you can’t refuse people, right? I worry about some people in my life from whom I’ve worked hard to shield myself. I don’t want them to have any access to my shizz. So I guess my question is: if someone subscribes, can you see that and block them? Or is this all secret info? Because if I can’t see who my peeps are, I have to stay private.

    I can never go back to G .

    Worst two weeks of my life.

  11. #13 by Lynn Kelley on September 27, 2011 - 1:58 pm

    Kristen, thanks for helping us sort this out. It’s super confusing, so it’s nice to get your input on all of this.

  12. #14 by Nancy J Nicholson on September 27, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    Given your explaination, I’m thinking FB is onto something. But as you said, time will tell. Thanks for being here Dr. Twuth!

  13. #15 by Julie Glover on September 27, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    This was incredibly valuable advice – not that I’m paying for it. Now if you had a tip jar . . .

    I’ve heard plenty of people ranting about recent Facebook changes, and it is annoying that FB can’t feel as good about themselves as we feel about them. It’s like your honey saying you’re pretty, and you roll your eyes, ignore him, and get enough plastic surgery to rival Joan Rivers. I digress.

    It seems that social media options are increasing, and authors need to decide which tools to use based on what they want to achieve. Overall, having choices is a good thing. Thanks for deciphering it for us, Kristen!

  14. #16 by Maryann Miller on September 27, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    Thank you so much for the explanation of some of what is going on with Facebook. I am not pretending to understand it all, but the fog is slightly clearing. LOL You are so right that the powers that be at Facebook do need to let things be long enough for us to get accustomed to what is going on.

  15. #17 by Angela Orlowski-Peart on September 27, 2011 - 4:29 pm

    From what you are saying, I’m guessing something big is going to happen with Facebook.

    Great article, as always. Whenever I need answers on various social media subjects, I simply consult your blog. What an awesome source to have. Thank you, Kristen!

  16. #18 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on September 27, 2011 - 7:19 pm

    Will the + sign work from my iMac? It didn’t work from my iPhone. Curious.😉

  17. #19 by asrai on September 27, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    Firefox did the same thing when Google chrome came on the scene. They changed to be more like Google, instead of staying Firefox. I liked firefox for being FF. They change less then Facebook though.

  18. #20 by katewoodauthor on September 27, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    Perfect timing! I haven’t been able to get on FB since the change, and my husband has been ranting and raving about how much he hates it and is moving to G+. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty nervous, I REALLY don’t want to start all over again!

    Thanks for this, I feel much better about FB now =)

  19. #21 by Piper Bayard on September 27, 2011 - 11:14 pm

    Thank you for the explanation. I’ll give Twit + a chance.

  20. #22 by Tony Hastings on September 28, 2011 - 3:47 am

    I like the ‘If I know I’ll get a call from Mom, I don’t post.’ – In my case it’s my daughter who I know can see what I get up to! Definitely keeps me honest🙂

    I tend to ignore Facebook much of the time but after reading your excellent article maybe I need to pop over there more often if only to make sure I know what is going on and make sure I am not missing out on anything.

  21. #23 by Evangeline Holland on September 28, 2011 - 4:40 am

    Honestly, these Google+-esque changes cause me to not even bother with Facebook. There’s too much clutter, and it’s too much work to go through everyone on my friend list and change what I do and do not want to see (and it seems that with these changes, I get more photos on my wall that status updates). I now scan my wall and then switch over to my Twitter pages to cut back and control the noise.

  22. #24 by Belinda Pollard on September 28, 2011 - 7:31 am

    I check into FB about four times a year, whether I need to or not. ;-p (It makes me a bit grumpy.)

    I finally got on board with G+, after being grumpy about that too for a little while. But I have to say that having done it, I think it really works for author platform building type stuff, and connecting with people in the writing/publishing world to find out all the new developments, sometimes just by watching, and sometimes by chatting. People can add some detail to their tweets.

    And I love Twitter. A great networking and professional development forum for writers.

  23. #25 by Nathan J. Anderson (@NathanAndersonJ) on September 28, 2011 - 9:30 am

    Anybody can send me a friend request in Facebook. I am a speaker, radio personality as well as a former pastor, so lots of people I don’t know personally know me. So I generally accept all friend requests in order to make my circle bigger.

    But is there any way to separate real friend friend requests from public friend requests? I want Joe Schmoe to be able to “be my friend,” but not to get all my posts. I know I can designate a post as either public or friends only, but I still have the friend request from Joe Schmoe sitting there. How do you handle friend requests from people you don’t know?

  24. #26 by Teresa M. Owen on September 28, 2011 - 9:50 am

    Hilarious, as usual. Love the line “now that facebook has a spray tan and speaks with a fake British accent”. LOL

  25. #27 by Reetta Raitanen on September 28, 2011 - 10:17 am

    Thank you for the very clear explanation on what the so called Twit+ update is about. All these recent Facebook changes have left me a bit confused. It’s good to know Dr.Twuth is there helping out🙂

  26. #28 by Kim Kircher on September 28, 2011 - 10:18 am

    Thanks for the explanation. Glad you spent the time yelling at the keyboard so I didn’t have to.

  27. #29 by Julie on September 28, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    Well, that certainly does help quite a bit. I’m curious if now, instead of setting up a separate author page that people can like, you would recommend just opening up the subscription option on your personal page and being diligent about changing the privacy settings with each post?

    Thanks!!

  28. #30 by Sonia G Medeiros on September 29, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    I hadn’t heard about the new features but I’m sure I would have been a little spooked if I saw them before I heard your explanation. Now I can see the usefullness. Thanks!

  29. #31 by Hartford on September 30, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    Awwww…I get it! I hadn’t spent anytime yet trying to figure out what the new changes were and how it was all working but I get it now and heck, yeah, there are a ton of advantages to being able to “subscribe” to someone without putting a friend request out there. There are lots of people that are strangers that I’d like to follow but not in a friend-stalking kind of way…lol…thanks for taking the time and computer bashing to sort it all out for us! Really appreciate it!

  30. #32 by Lise McClendon on October 1, 2011 - 7:22 pm

    Thanks, Doctor. The twuth sets us all free.🙂

  31. #33 by Marilag Lubag on October 3, 2011 - 2:07 am

    Thank you for the explanation. I’m starting to hate the new Facebook and thinking about quitting it.

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