Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Change in my Twitter/Facebook/Posterous Usage

Originally, I started using Twitter so I could get the status updates of the few friends of mine with accounts.  Not long after, I set it up so that my Facebook status imported from Twitter, and I have used that mechanism, with a few rare exceptions, to update my status.
I set up an account with TwitPic and used it to occasionally post links to photos uploaded from my phone.  Back then, I didn't have a messaging plan (because I think that text messages are grossly overpriced--they are!), so I would pay 30 cents for each uploaded photo.  I considered it worth the money with Multimedia Messaging, and as long as I sent fewer than 17 a month, it cost less than the lowest plan. 

Eventually, I started uploading more and subscribing to others' tweets via SMS, and I sprung for the five dollar per month plan for 200 messages (text and multimedia combined).  I have other things sending me text and multimedia messages, like Google Voice voicemail "transcriptions", certain Facebook events, and certain e-mail filters from Gmail.

Anyway, most people who actually look at (and certainly most people who comment on) my uploaded phone pictures have always been doing so through Facebook.  When I switched from TwitPic to Posterous for phone uploads, I was able to have the actual pictures (and videos) themselves imported directly into Facebook, whereas with TwitPic, people had to click on the link the external site to view the pictures. 

It occurs to me that this feature obviates the need for me to send my Posterous posts to Twitter.  The exception would be someone with a smartphone who sees the pictures in (or from) their Twitter client, and wouldn't necessarily catch them on Facebook. 

It also would have the effect of de-cluttering my Twitter feed for SMS-only followers.  Someone (like me) with a non-smart phone isn't able (or rather willing) to open links in Twitter posts, because I don't have a data plan.  Posts with hyperlinks are mostly useless, unless I manually transcribe the links into my computer's browser.  If I'm going to be at a computer to enjoy the posts, I might as well just subscribe via RSS, and get them through Google Reader.

Currently, I don't subscribe via mobile to my Twitter followers who tweet a lot, because I'm still limited to 200 messages a month.  I also don't want my phone going off five times an hour.  It occurs to me that if I eliminate the Posterous auto-posts from my Twitter feed, and only--or mainly at least--send text through Twitter, others in similar situations as me will be more likely to follow me.

The down side is that I've been looking forward to Twitter's upcoming "Annotations" feature.  Basically, Twitter is going to let you attach metadata to your tweets if you have a rich client.  They already allow location information to be added, but soon it will be opened up to anything you can think of, which will almost certainly include embedding thumbnail pictures and blog post snippets into tweets.  My guess is that Posterous will write support for this sort of thing into their auto-post feature.

If I quit sending pictures through Twitter, I suppose I can always start sending them again when the Annotations feature arrives and matures.

Right now, each picture I post to Posterous gets posted to Facebook three times: once via Twitter in my status message, once as a picture with a title in the "Posterous Photos" album, and once as a story to my wall, which includes the text of the body of the post.  Eliminating the Twitter post reduces the number of posts to two.  I could actually eliminate the photo method as well, but I like having the pictures inside of Facebook where they can be tagged and browsed and so forth. 

I think what I'll do is keep the Twitter integration intact, but normally just post to the other services.  If I want a post to go to Twitter, I can send it to or in addition to my new default (which I will need to update if/when I add more services).  That way, I still have the option of posting to Twitter in extraordinary circumstances, but it won't happen very frequently.

If you want to subscribe to my phone posts, please do so using the feed at my Posterous site.

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