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Useful Things that Twitter and Facebook Have Taught Me in the Social Media World

Updated on June 21, 2012
Facebook and Twitter Logos
Facebook and Twitter Logos

Five years ago my husband came home from work, full of excitement and started telling me stories about how great this new website Facebook was. I was a little skeptical about signing up on another social network, as I'd just started using Myspace and was quite happy with it, even though I didn't really use it. Eventually, I signed up to Facebook and as I'm sure happened to millions of people across the globe - my world literally changed.

Did You Know?

The idea to create Facebook was developed from its predecessor, also created by Mark Zuckerberg and known as Facemash.

What is Facebook?

Facebook is a social networking service and website that was launched in 2004. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates and fellow students, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.

Facebook currently has over 900 million active users, and even more interesting - more than half of them use Facebook on a mobile device!

Users must register on the website before their profile is set up, and once they've filled in their basic details - name, date of birth, interests, etc - they will be able to log in with their details and fill in more interesting information about themselves that they'd like to share, add photos or videos, and interact with friends.

Most businesses have a Public Profile page on Facebook, and they use this web page to interact with their customers, provide feedback, assist with complaints and just generally promote their business.

In November 2010, Facebook's value was $41 billion - becoming the third largest US Web company only after Google and Amazon.

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook profile page
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook profile page

10 Things Facebook Has Taught Me

  1. Not everyone is a "friend". I'm not one of those people who randomly accepts friend requests or tries to friend everyone I possibly can in order to make my friend score high. I'm friends with people I've met in real life, and people who I know through time spent interacting with them on other networks.
  2. I'm careful what I say. Have you ever had to resist the urge to type something along the lines of - "my colleague is annoying the !@#$ out of me today" - as your status? I have. Often. But, I've resisted the temptation for two reasons. (1) You never know who could be reading, and (2) Who reading their timeline and seeing your update will actually care?
  3. I unfriend people. Unfortunately, I've unfriended quite a few people on Facebook. I might speak to them in real life, but that doesn't mean I want to know every detail about their lives, like how they threw up this morning, why their husband is a jerk, that they're going to bed now, or that their life sucks. I have better things to do with my time. If your life sucks, then phone a friend.
  4. People don't care. As much as you think they might be interested, most people don't really care about the little business you've just started. They'll say "That's great!" and be enthusiastic at first, but then - they really lose interest. I learnt this the hard way a few years ago. That's what the business profile pages are for. Don't annoy people by promoting your business on your personal profile. Now and then is ok, but not continuously.
  5. Untag button. Ever had a cringe worthy photo of yourself appearing on Facebook where you've been tagged in? I've only had one, luckily - but thank goodness for the option to untag yourself! I don't like the idea of people posting pictures of you that you don't really want displayed. Not cool at all.
  6. The hide button. Do you have feed on your Facebook wall from someone who constantly sends you invites to join Mafia Wars or Farmville, and not much else? I like the option you have here to hide their feed without having to unfriend them. And, the best part - they won't even know about it.
  7. Long lost friends. Isn't it great to be able to reconnect with friends who you haven't seen or heard from in 20 years? I'm so grateful that I can still keep in touch with my close friends from primary school days. Friends I never thought I'd speak to again.
  8. Your family will embarrass you. Ok, maybe you're lucky and your family is cool that way, and they don't embarrass you - lucky you! A few years ago my sister-in-law commented on a photo of my husband and I on Facebook. This is what she said: "Hi vetties (fatties in Afrikaans), hope you are doing well!" Now, I know she didn't mean it vindictively, but no woman wants to be referred to as fatty - believe me! I immediately deleted the comment and went on a diet. I lose 10 kg's over the next year, so I guess I should thank her for that comment!

Did You Know?

The definition of Twitter is "a short burst of inconsequential information" and "chirps from birds".

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters. These are known as "tweets".

Twitter was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. In early 2012, there were 140 million active users that generated over 340 million tweets a day! Since being launched, Twitter has become one of the top ten most visited sites on the Internet.

Anyone can read tweets on Twitter, but you will need to register in order to activate your account profile and to start sending tweets.

Users can group messages together on Twitter by using the hash-tag (#) at the end of a word. For example, a tweet could read the following: "This game is close! I really don't know who's going to win! #rangers #baseball". The tweet will now be linked under the groups 'rangers' and 'baseball', so anyone searching for these topics on Twitter can stumble across your tweets in those lists.

Stella McCartney's Twitter profile page
Stella McCartney's Twitter profile page

7 Things Twitter Has Taught Me

  1. Records are kept. Everything you say (and don't delete immediately if you make a mistake) is recorded and right there on the Internet for anyone to read. So be careful! Employers are really serious these days about looking up candidates on all social media platforms before making the decision to hire them, or even interview them.
  2. Interaction is key. When I had my business, I made the mistake of really only self promoting my services and products. I barely interacted with other people on my Twitter timeline. Eventually, someone from a Social Media company in SA told me what I was doing wrong, and I was then able to change the way I was trying to promote my business - this helped a lot! Businesses need to interact and be interested in other people in order for other people to be interested in them, and their products and services offered. That's just the way it works today.
  3. Celebrities true colours. You know that cool character from your favourite TV show that you really like? Well, guess what? They're on Twitter! And, guess what else? They're really not that cool after all. I've followed a couple of celebrities on Twitter whose accounts are verified, and I've actually been quite disappointed with how full of themselves they are and how they come across. But, on the bright side - I've come across other celebrities on Twitter who interact with lots of people all the time, promote their charities, and just tweet about normal, everyday things. This makes me realize, that they too are only human like the rest of us.
  4. Follow Friday. Follow Friday is really cool and I've only recently started doing this again. What you do is recommend people that you enjoy following to other people. So you would tweet something like "#followfriday @jackyd, @miss_b, @theiceshop", etc. It's good karma and I find that when doing that you'll get a lot more exposure and more people will take notice of you and want to follow you too.
  5. Non human followers. Suddenly you have about 10 people following you in the space of an hour. You get excited and go look at who's following you, only to find that most of them are bots. Yes, those annoying Twitter bots. A Twitter bot is a computer program that watches every public tweet for popular keywords. When a bot finds a tweet with those keywords, it sends a pre-written response that might look as though it came from someone who actually read your tweet and has commented on it. There's nothing dangerous about these bots, they're more annoying spammers than anything else - just don't click on any of their links that they might post in their messages to you.
  6. Don't be a bore. Want to know the fastest way to lose followers? Tweet about everything, and when you're doing it. What time you woke up, why your leg is sore, how your partner kept you awake the night before with their snoring, what food didn't agree with your stomach, what show you're busy watching, why your nose is itchy, etc, etc, etc. It's nice to know that you have an audience to share some of your frustrations with, but really - no one wants to know that much about a person or see that on their timeline. Keep it interesting and light. Don't over share or moan constantly.
  7. Pay it forward. The best compliment you can receive is if someone else re-tweets one of your tweets. This shows that they really like what you've said - so much to the point that they felt it necessary to share it with the rest of their followers. Remember what I said earlier about karma? Pay it forward. If you find something interesting or funny that you want to share with your followers, re-tweet someone else's tweet.

Do you have a Twitter or Facebook account?

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    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks thebiologyofleah. I've found Twitter to be great for promoting articles. The thing with that like most other social networking sites, is the timing, and making sure to interact with other people and not just promote. Learnt that the hard way a few years ago. I love Twitter!

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I was in need of a tutorial on how to use Twitter, I am hoping to promote my articles on there. Thanks for the information!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks for stopping by to read and comment JanMaklak! They are indeed great ways to keep in touch :)

    • JanMaklak profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      Twitter and FB are great ways to keep in touch and do social marketing. I write about social marketing on my Hub

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Alecia - I can't tell you how many stories I've read of people positing personal info on their Facebook statuses or on Twitter, only to be found out by a colleague or their boss. It's madness. The Internet is open to everyone and almost anything can be found. We need to be so careful. That's why I don't really like applications such as FourSquare, etc -that tell everyone who's following you on Twitter where you are. Not so smart if you have a stalker.

      Thanks for checking in to read and comment - much appreciated! :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Valuable information indeed! I agree especially about not sharing everything on social media about your personal life or thoughts about others. You don't know who is following or tracking you and in order to ensue you don't end up fired- you should leaves some things unsaid. Great hub!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Rajan and Injured lamb - I'm glad you found this article interesting and useful :) Thanks for stopping by to read and comment - much appreciated!

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the sharing MelChi, agree much with your points on Facebook...appreciate much for the information about Tweeter which I still not familiar with...voted this up for a great job you have done. Cheers!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and useful MelChi. I learnt quite a few things I didn't know like the hide button on facebook and the non human followers on twitter.

      Thanks for sharing this useful information.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

      Shared this hub.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      @penlady - Thanks so much for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub :)

    • penlady profile image


      6 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      What an awesome hub on the two biggest social media sites of our time. Voted up and useful.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      @myownlife - Thank you! :)

    • myownlife profile image


      6 years ago from london

      Great, definitely everything gives and takes at least something, so we always have to think it's consequences, great job

    • cherylvanhoorn profile image


      6 years ago from Sydney

      It was great and I am glad that I am not the only one that has been challenged this way. Every time I think that I have the hang of it I become a pretzel with said foot gagging me.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi cherylvanhoorn - LOL! You're no retard, I felt similar to you when it came to posting a few years ago. Gosh, I cringe when I think back to some of the things I used to post! (And the people I used to annoy!) I guess it's a learning game for us all - but it just takes practice, and removing foot from mouth from time to time hehe. Thanks for your great feedback on the hub! Glad it came across as useful and helpful :)

    • cherylvanhoorn profile image


      6 years ago from Sydney

      Hi MelChi-interesting stats on the poll.

      Now that's what I am talking about. I just wrote a hub regarding interaction on social media and I am one of those people out there who is a retard when it comes to posting. I have been using it for roughly two years and am still navigating the pitfalls of posting and tweeting and on many occasions have managed to piss off many friends and family.

      Perhaps you can write to Twitter and Facebook and they would be happy to post your hub regarding how to approach the pitfalls of these disciplines! It would be good. There are plenty of me's out there that are walking around with their foot in their mouths and gagging profusely on it. I know I do.

      Good work MelChi!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Bill for your kind feedback - I appreciate it! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A great look at two social giants in technology. Nice job my friend.


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