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Connecting Twitter to LinkedIn: Just Say No

I already know most of you will be in one of two camps. Some of you will immediately feel my pain and totally get what I’m talking about. Others will think I’m making much ado about nothing and ought to let go of my outdated idea of how and where content is best shared. There will be a handful in the middle; those who can see both sides, but there won’t be many of you in this third group.

That said, bring on the controversy. Let’s get ready to rumble!

Just over a year ago, LinkedIn introduced a feature allowing users to post all of their Twitter updates, also known as tweets, to LinkedIn. Not surprisingly, many people have since added the feature, causing my LinkedIn homepage to no longer be a place of value and interest to me. Sound a little melodramatic? Maybe. But the updates from my LinkedIn connections telling their network about a new job, an interesting project or sharing news and requests for assistance were an easy way to stay up-to-date and support others where I could.

Now, before you start to school me on how I don’t get Twitter or LinkedIn, you may want to look here and here to see that I am a huge fan of both. It’s just that I see Twitter and LinkedIn (and Facebook, for that matter) as different places with their own culture, pace and etiquette. Just because it’s easy for me to push every single tweet to LinkedIn doesn’t mean it aligns with the type of presence I want to have on LinkedIn and, more importantly, doesn’t mean that it is best for my connections.

I find myself hiding updates from my connections who post their tweets to LinkedIn more and more frequently because it makes it nearly impossible to see the content I really want to see. Unfortunately, it is not an option to hide just their tweets. Once that person is hidden from my stream, I don’t see any of their updates, which means I may be missing something important.

I was curious if others were also struggling with this same issue and if they were actually spending time weeding through the status updates on LinkedIn to find the ones most interesting so I posted this question as my own status update:

With so many people pushing posts from Twitter to LinkedIn, I wonder if anyone is really reading these updates anymore. Will you like or comment if you see this message?

Rather than summarize huge amount of feedback and suggestions for best practices I received, here is a small sampling of the comments:

Clearly, I hit a nerve and many people have very strong feelings about:

  • How they’d like their friends to consider them when deciding how to use the different networking sites
  • How they’d like to use tools that make posting to multiple places simultaneously easier

The problem is that it seems most people place a much higher priority on one of the items above, leaving them at odds with those who place a high priority on the other. So, simple question – if you are posting Twitter updates to LinkedIn, have you considered asking your LinkedIn connections how they feel about this? Does it enhance their experience because you share wonderful content or does it only add noise to their stream?

A couple of years ago, I started posting my tweets to Facebook. It made sense to me because it was easy. After a few months, I began to rethink that practice and disconnected the two. All of a sudden, my Facebook friends came forward to tell me how much they hated seeing my tweets. Often the content wasn’t relevant and context was missing. Unbeknownst to me, I was irritating the hell out of them, yet no one told me. Since then, I’ve decided to put my audience – my Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends – first.

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Just because there’s an app for that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

Many thanks to the 50+ people who took the time to add their thoughts to this conversation on LinkedIn. I learned from each of you. I also came across a similar discussion started by Karla Porter and a blog post by Jorgen Sundberg entitled Dear Tweeters, Stop Cluttering My LinkedIn Homefeed, which is a perfect complement to this post as it includes important screenshots and detailed information - check them out.

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35 Responses to “Connecting Twitter to LinkedIn: Just Say No”

  1. Cliff Allen says:

    I’m so glad you raised this issue — and had such a supportive reaction!

    The same issue came up on the Google Buzz community. People who just fed Twitter into their Buzz stream were un-followed quickly.

    It’s so important to think about the audience of each medium — and not broadcast the same message on all media.

    • Thanks for chiming in, Cliff. I recall hearing the same issue with Buzz. We get “click-happy” and don’t stop to think about what works for the particular community.

  2. G-man says:

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you
    (one for each: FB,LI,TW)

    My LinkedIn world is my professional world. My Facebook world is my personal world.
    My Twitter world is everyone else in the world.

    Sure the circles intersect/overlap sometimes, but fun would the world be if everyone was involved in everything all the time.

  3. Susan Walls says:

    Thanks for this important and relevant post, Irene. I plan to share it with my LinkedIn connections as a status update. I hope they read the status of their connections; if so, perhaps they will “hear” the message loud and clear!

  4. Selective tweeting to LinkedIn IS the way to go. When I heard about the integration happening I was excited but also thought that you wouldn’t want to see ANY tweet appear on your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t make sense to do that because it has no context. So selective tweeting with the #in does make alot of sense.

    I actually had the same experience, or you can say I learned from this experience, because I had my Twitter account connected to my Hyves (Dutch social networking site: http://www.hyves.nl) account. I eventually unlinked that too because people being fed with stuff they didn’t want to read or stuff that didn’t have context. On top of that I got some replies indicating I should stop it because it was annoying people.

    This is the same for Facebook ofcourse. And yes I also had that connected to Twitter once. But also unlinked it later on ;) Valuable lessons learned in the end though!

    • Absolutely, Dereck! It’s all about choosing where, when and how it is most appropriate to share each update. Does it take a few extra seconds? Sure, but your friends will thank you for it. I use Selective Tweets for Facebook also.

  5. Karla Porter says:

    Really well done Irene and thanks for the mentions. I have my post half completed & saved in drafts. I was too tired to finish it last night. I will post it soon and perhaps via our targeted multi-platform approach we’ll start to see a difference. There’s always hope!

  6. Rob Levey says:

    I fall into the selective Tweets on LinkedIn camp. Reason being, my LinkedIn network is a group of selectively chosen people who I have done business with over many years. I have built relationships with them and I hope I have earned their trust. The last thing I want to do is blast them with truckloads of tweets. I consider Twitter to be quantity (noise for lead gen) and LinkedIn to be quality (nurturing relationships).

  7. Ed Scrivener says:

    Well done for highlighting this Irene. LinkedIn and Twitter are both exceptionally good mediums, they are however exceptionally different too! Therefore, lets keep them seperate.

  8. Paolo Mateo says:

    I have to confess that while I have a LinkedIn account, I never use it. That said, I see your take on this as a valid one, not overdone or OCD, and particularly relevant to my view regarding Twitter, FaceBook and MySpace, which I can send content to simultaneously or specifically via Hootsuite.

    Do I feel content appropriate on one profile belongs on all the others? No, not at all. FaceBook is for my real-life friends and family. MySpace is (was) for my poetry and writing. Twitter is for news and information. I selectively send what I feel my followers, friends and family would want to know and would benefit from.

    So my take on this is that automated sending of Tweets to other social medias without selective control is spamming and doing more harm than good to the sender…unless the sender in question is truly a social star and then I wouldn’t know what that’s like, nor would I care to know.

    I’m glad you brought this matter up. I think social responsibility isn’t discussed enough and should be. Well done.

  9. Kelvin says:

    You are ABSOLUTELY correct.

    I choose a vehicle for it’s unique qualities. When Facebook started bombarding me with their updates like Twitter I nearly dumped Facebook. I chose those two for completely different reasons. I enjoy using Selective Tweet to put individual tweets to FB but would NEVER bombard FB with the stuff I’m tweeting. Similarly with LinkedIn. I’d turn them off and if you wanted to contact me you’d need to contact me directly. Tweetdeck recently started streaming updates, yeah, like I can keep up with streaming tweets from 4700 followers.

    So I’m absolutely with you. On Twitter, I expect certain behaviors of the tool. Same thing with FB and LinkedIn. LinkedIn — on my opinion — is not appropriate to stream Twitter Updates and it removes lessens it’s attraction as a viable business tool. Thanks Irene.

  10. [...] een verschillende cultuur, verwachting en etiquette zoals ook perfect omschreven in deze blog. http://www.almostsavvy.com/2011/01/05/connecting-twitter-to-linkedin-just-say-no/ Het is dus een goed moment om even na te denken of je dus echt nog je Tweet wilt pushen naar je [...]

  11. Marie Mancini says:

    This just happened to me this morning! Went to my LI account and was bombarded with Tweets from a friend of a colleague, who ‘wanted to connect w/me on LI’ when she was job searching. Now, has a position w/nearby radio station – uses Twitter to broadcast her every thought. Those thoughts appear on my LI account! Very frustrating. I confronted her via Twitter, she was surprised, said she and her media colleagues always do it to stay in touch. Makes LI seem less business-like. Frustrated – I will probably drop her as a connection on LI to solve my problem. Young, techie-type. Ah well, it’s the tech world :)

  12. [...] Since a year ago it is possible to connect your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account, due to this there are a lot of private messages on your business Social Media account. LinkedIn and Twitter are two different platforms with both a different culture, prospect and etiquette which is perfectly described in this blog: http://www.almostsavvy.com/2011/01/05/connecting-twitter-to-linkedin-just-say-no/ [...]

  13. Well written and thank you.

    I’m in the camp of keeping the big three (FB, LI, T..[There isn't a two letter for Twitter]) in separate. First off, for me, LinkedIn is a vital source of data on the professional status of my network. I’m a big proponent of “pass it on” and when a recruiter contacts me for a job I’m not suited for, I try and pass it on to someone I know it might fit. This is harder when your LI feed is flooded with Tweets.

    Then there is what happens when you follow someone in more than one area. I have colleagues I greatly respect and I follow their Tweets as well as being connected to them on LI. I don’t need to see your Tweets in LI, I’m reading them on Twitter.

    When I post a new blog, I will usually tailor my announcement for each venue. For Twitter it’s short and catchy. LI I give a little more hook and on FB I’ve even posted the first paragraph.

    A big support of LI and Twitter, a begrudging user of FB and a big proponent of keeping them separate.

    Joel Bancroft-Connors

    • Thanks for chiming in, Joel. It’s all about understanding the pace and culture of each platform. It’s about what works for our audience, not what is easiest for us.

  14. I do have my twitter account fed into my LinkedIn profile, but this post is making me reconsider if I should keep it that way.

    I use both Twitter and LinkedIn for professional relationship building, and I have limited tweets that relate to my job. I feel that I keep the noise to a minimum and and so I’ve kept the feed to my linked in account.

    Like many people, I did have twitter posting on my facebook, but I found that it was really just turning people off. Facebook is my personal crowd of people and so my industry specific tweets weren’t of interest to people.

    • Piotr, I appreciate your comment And you keeping an open mind about this. It can be a complicated thing, trying to balance using all of these tools efficiently well keeping in mind what is most helpful to our connections.

      I like the design of your website by the way. It has a very clean feel to it.

  15. Well put Irene. LinkedIn gets cluttered and I no longer go to the main page to read anyone’s updates because it is full of rubbish. All it takes is for one twit (geddit?) to send all his tweets LinkedIn’s way to totally dominate the page.
    LinkedIn would be very wise to act on this; or at least let it be known how I can unfollow someone’s tweets whilst staying connected with them.

  16. Danny says:

    You make some very good points with respect to information sharing between internetworked entities. There’s a much deeper issue that needs to be better handled which is some of the reason behind the pains you’re experiencing: i.e., Copyright. Once we can get copyright down, on the internet or online, many things will then get more and more within the control of the individual, and not have it somewhat forced onto us b/c someone with money is in the driver’s seat requesting that it be so. …

  17. Irene,

    Thank you again for this great blog. I added this as one of the three big sins of Tweeting in my own Gorilla Spam Blog.

    http://thegorillaisnamedhogarth.blogspot.com/2011/07/or-how-not-to-be-twitter-sinner-my.html

  18. I just switched of my link between linkedin and twitter after checking my linked profile yesterday and realised it was being updated with information regarding trips to the supermarket. Not good. I wonder how many have blocked my content due to personal tweets.

  19. I agree completely with this post. I very specifically select posts to distribute throughout my channels, and separately post on them as well. Here is my problem. I do not know how to turn off the automatic link from Twitter to LinkedIn! I have hootsuite and theoretically should be able to choice when to post to LinkedIn – but recently found that all tweets are going to LI. Is it LI or Twitter that is making the auto-connect.

    Anyone, help!

  20. Pete Benac says:

    My LinkedIn account is for my I.T. self. My Twitter account is for my competitve BBQ self. My Facebook page is well just for me. I may on occasion cross post to FB from Twitter, but not to my LinkedIn page.

    I really don’t care where you are at this moment being seen on LinkedIn. Leave it on Twitter..

  21. [...] Koehler first put words to this sin for me. In her blog, “Connecting Twitter to LinkedIn: Just Say No,” she gives an impassioned argument on why you shouldn’t have your tweets automatically [...]

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