Why Twitter is Not Good At Updating Facebook – Facebook Discriminates Against Apps

Lets examine a typical Twitter post as imported by FB’s Twitter app:

It Just Looks Awful

The update riddled with twitter lingo like RT (retweet), @mentions, and #hashtags.   Twitter lingo confuses Facebook-only users, and the twitter components that should be turned into links, aren’t.  This is a violation of the Twitter Display Guidelines but you probably won’t see Twitter revoking Facebook’s API key because it’s such an enormous source of referring traffic.

No Link Expansion

The hyperlink contained inside the Tweet is not “expanded” as it would be if you posted a typical status update (see below).  Expanded links have descriptions and clickable titles and thumbnails, which makes them dramatically more attractive looking than a URL… even a pretty short url.

Potential Duplication

If you use any apps that update to both Facebook and Twitter, this can result in nasty duplication of those updates with these comparatively ugly looking tweets.  The bad solution to this problem is to not connect any apps to facebook that are already connected to Twitter.

No New-Style Retweets

Facebook does NOT post new-style Retweets to your feed, only if you use the old-style “RT @whoever ___” syntax will retweets make it to Facebook.

Discrimination Against Popular Apps

The biggest issue of them all is that Facebook coalesces all posts from the Twitter App together and conceals them behind the “See X more posts from Twitter” link.  Who clicks that? I would make an uneducated guess of significantly less than everybody.  Even if the tweets are from different people, they all get grouped together and hidden, except for one lucky tweet.

This is something that Facebook does with all applications, not just Twitter.  The more popular an application the more likely that its Facebook updates will be combined and concealed. With 2.7 million users, Twitter is one of the most popular Facebook applications so it is very likely to be discriminated against.

Selective Tweets App / #fb hashtag

The Selective Tweets Facebook app, which posts tweets that have the #FB hashtag, is another poor way of handling the problem because it results in the same badly formatted status update.  Also, it looks weird using #FB all the time and it’s a waste of four precious twitter characters.  Selective tweets is also discriminated against because it’s an app, although it has a small user base of under 200k users so that is far less likely to occur.

Other Popular FB Updating Apps

Here are some other app user bases… Foursquare: 2.0 million (the more these check-ins are discriminated against the better IMHO), Tweetdeck: 981k,  Hootsuite: 373k, Tumblr: 862k.  Although user base does not tell the whole store, frequency of posting is another factor in the probability of app discrimination.

Using RSS Graffiti With Your Blog

Another option is to post your stuff to a WordPress (or other) blog and use the RSS Graffiti app to auto-post items showing up in your blog’s RSS feed to Facebook for you.  You can also use the YOURLS WordPress To Twitter plugin to automatically send tweets for you.

Facebook will still discriminate against RSS Graffiti posts as it does for any app, but with 1.2 million users and what should be a lower frequency of posts, RSS Graffiti posts are less than half as likely to be coalesced as Twitter’s.  This is what a RSS Graffiti post can end up looking like:

Thumbnail, excerpt, hyperlinked title, no nasty looking URL’s, no broken hashtags. This looks much better than the respective tweet imported to Facebook might look.  The only other problems I have with RSS Graffiti is a modest time-delay between publishing and posting, and  that it lacks the ability to tag your friends, so you should add tagging after the fact within a comment.

Manual Status Updates Work The Best

If you want your Twitter stuff to go to Facebook without any disadvantages, your best bet is to simply select all, copy and paste your tweet, then rewrite the @Mentions to trigger Facebook’s friend-tagging window, and potentially expand your message.

Unfortunately, nothing is better looking than manually crafting your Facebook status update. You’ll have no app discrimination, and with ability to tag your Friends you’ll get better exposure.  I’m too lazy to do everything manually though, so I enjoy RSS Graffiti’s automation.

Coming soon: Visa versa… I’ll show why you shouldn’t use Facebook to update Twitter.

  • After the Twitter app stopped importing tweets (no matter how much installing/uninstalling/resetting), I switched to RSS Graffiti and have been pretty happy until the past week or so, when it’s taken up to a day and a half to post updates. I assume that’s temporary and not all that important — for my use, Facebook doesn’t feel nearly as time-sensitive as Twitter.

    • I have my RSS Graffiti set to update frequency: As soon as possible.  I guess I’ve had some fetch errors because my cheapo VPS web server crashes occasionally.