Facebook and LinkedIn are about collecting, Twitter is about connecting

I am fascinated with how social media is changing the Internet and especially how the social web is affecting the way marketers connect with consumers. Most of my interactions with online social networks has been through the eyes of a credit union marketer trying to figure out how all this stuff works. One thing is for sure, my 'research' has definitely blurred the lines between my professional life and my personal life.

I have a Facebook profile and I have a LinkedIn profile. Both of these social networks are interesting diversions, but neither one has grabbed my on-going attention.

I pop in when I get a notification in my in-box indicating someone wants to add me as a Facebook friend or a LinkedIn connection. I poke around a little and then pop out and resume my day. I've added a few apps and joined a few groups, but, by and large, both of these extremely popular social networks have failed to grab me.

I have come to the conclusion that, for me, both Facebook and LinkedIn are more about collecting than connecting. It seems that the person who collects the most friends wins. Logging in and participating behind the closed garden walls, is too much effort without a real pay off.

Twitter on the other hand is about connecting. I must admit, when I learned about Twitter about a year ago, I did not get it at all. The sales pitch, "what are you doing right now in 140 characters or less" sounded funky but not compelling. Out of curiosity, I signed up for an account and it sat dormant for a few months. I still didn't get the attraction.

To continue my research, I signed up for yet another Web 2.0 social networking tool—Pownce. I posted a couple of comments and then, Brent Dixon from Trabian, who I had met at BarCampBankSeattle, left a message on my Pownce profile, "You should join Twitter. It's where the party happens."

So back to Twitter I went, searched out people I had met through the credit union social web and then suddenly I understood the attraction. Outside of the blog-o-sphere, Twitter is the first social network site, where I feel connected and understand the power of the social web. It is so lightweight, especially with apps like Twitterific for the Mac that allow you to participate without jumping in and out of your browser. You connect and get to know a group of people in a way that seeing a thumbnail image in Facebook fails to deliver.

So, what does this mean to your credit union? Heck, I don't know, but I will leave you with this. If you can figure out how to authentically connect to your credit union members using Twitter, without it feeling like a marketing gimmick, you are as good as gold!

I usually try to bring these wayward posts back to credit union branding but even I admit, that's pretty weak. I think I will just wrap it up here, I have to see what's going on on Twitter!

Tim

P.S. You can find me at www.twitter.com/currencytim.