Friday, August 12, 2011

Crossing the Streams: Social Media and Writing

If you're a writer or artist managing a social media profile, then you have confronted or will one day confront the dreaded question of all questions: Should you "cross the streams?"

A daunting question, even if you're not a Ghostbuster. 

(Photo from

So, how do you communicate on the different social media streams—like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, and your blog? Each arena offers you a chance to share your voice. Do you say the same thing everywhere (crossing the streams), or do you make each social media channel unique (keeping the streams separate)?

If you follow Ghostbuster logic, you know that the general rule is, "Don't cross the streams." Why? Because "it could be bad." Egon is the king of understatement. But he's right. It's bad to cross your streams all the time, for two reasons.

One: If you say exactly the same thing everywhere, you risk looking robotic. With social media, you want to be in the moment, responding to what's happening now. And what's happening now is often different on Facebook than it is on Twitter. Et cetera. Think of these outlets like different parties, with different people, and you'll know what I mean.

Two: The different streams have different purposes. The blog is where you flesh out thoughts in detail, while Twitter is for fast and noteworthy sharing with your tribe. Linkedin is business networking. Facebook is for close relationships, family and friends. You'll often have different goals on the different social media outlets, so that means you'll have different things to say.

But like every other rule in the universe, there are exceptions. There are times to "cross the streams" after all. (And no, you don't have to wait until a marshmallow monster threatens to kill you.)

Go ahead and cross the streams when you have something to share that all your contacts will be interested in. But do it uniquely in all streams, so that you still have the semblance of keeping each arena its own place. I do this by phrasing what I have to say in different ways on different social media, and adding tailored content when I can.

Another approach I've adopted is this: Every media stream gets something totally unique from time to time. I share it in that one outlet and nowhere else. Personally, I don't do this to force others to follow me everywhere. It's more a matter of giving something special to each group. Something tailor-made for that group alone and no one else. It takes thought to do this, and it's not something I can do hourly. Sometimes not even daily. But for me, it's worth the effort to do it, and I hope it adds to the lives of those who hang out with me in the different social media arenas.

Now I want to hear from you. How much do you cross your streams? And do you feel that crossing them or keeping them separate plays a major part in how you market your writing and art, or how you communicate with the world?

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Interesting post and something I'll have to put more thought into. I use my blog for more in-depth thoughts and use Twitter and G+ more to keep in contact with others as well as to see what everyone's up to. I guess I cross streams when I announce new blog posts though.

  2. Thanks, Tracey. I also announce blog posts everywhere, and I don't see any reason not to. I'm working on making the other conversations unique to each stream, though. It certainly takes work, but that's okay with me. :)

  3. I announce my blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Due to the closeness of my relationships on Facebook, I usually try to explain me self in my announcements there on some of my more "controversial" blogs.

  4. Yes! Explaining the blog post on FB. I've done that too, Brian. I find that I get different conversations and comments on FB than on the blog itself. How about you?

  5. I do a little of both. Actually, I don't know what I'm doing:)

  6. Hahaha, Bob, I think we all feel that way! :)


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