Stop tweeting on Linkedin – should I give an ultimatum?

May 11, 2010 · 30 comments

Since my three posts on how to use Linkedin properly I’ve been thinking about what I should do. Should I put my money where my mouth is?

Earlier this year Linkedin and Twitter confirmed they had enabled Twitter-Linkedin integration. This is how it works. When you connect your linkedin account to your twitter account, you can choose to share all (or some) of your tweets as linkedin status updates, and also share your linkedin status updates as tweets. Read about how it works on the Linkedin Twitter Help Pages.
Many of the people I’m connected with on Linkedin are twitter users, and some of those connect their twitter profile up to their Linkedin profile and feed all their twitter messages into Linkedin.
I have a problem with this. Let me explain.

1. The platforms are not the same.

I don’t know about you, but many of my Linkedin contacts have no idea what twitter is and if I suggested it to them they’d probably faint at the prospect. Linkedin has a strong identity as a professional’s site, yes it is rather staid, but it is a good home for newcomers on the social networking scene. Indeed many linkedin users would balk at the phrase ‘social networking’. Linkedin is seen as safe, and Twitter isn’t.

When these people see your twitter updates they won’t understand them, and they may not like them either.

2. Twitter doesn’t make sense to Linkedin only users.

If you like to send all your twitter updates to Linkedin, that includes all the replies to @people that your connections on linkedin don’t know, as parts of conversations they aren’t part of and don’t understand. What is ‘RT?’ they will ask. What do you mean by ‘ROFL’?

If you tweet through to linkedin, your shorthand, your language, whilst it is perfectly at home on twitter, looks out of place. Put yourself in the shoes of a non-tweeting Linkedin user and its pretty obvious your tweets look weird.

3. Status updates are fewer.

Linkedin is a network where status updates are designed to be infrequent. For example on your home desktop you’ll only see the latest three at a time, and the maximum is only seven if you hit ‘more updates’. Any others are lost.

Twitter is a platform that is designed to handle many updates – in fact as I’ve written elsewhere, many people won’t read them all and that’s ok. But I don’t think its OK on Linkedin, because the numbers it can handle are so limited.

4. Linkedin Status updates are for something else.

I see Linkedin as a good place to be sparing in your interactions, and as I’ve written before, I think Linkedin status updates are a good place to ask for help, and not to send out sales messages.

Everytime you update your status on Linkedin, your contacts who have email notifications will get that update in their email, so in theory you could be spamming your professional contacts with sales messages on a daily basis.

So that’s why I have a problem with people automating their Twitter feeding into Linkedin.

What am I going to do about it?

Well I can share my concerns with you, and if you’re one of these people, you might be motivated to stop doing it, and instead use the option to occasionally share a twitter message with Linkedin using the #in hashtag.

And I can ask for your advice on what else to do.

At the moment I don’t get to see my Linkedin networks status updates because they are swamped by twitter updates I can read on twitter. Should I give my linkedin contacts who do this an ultimatum, that if they don’t stop then I’ll hide all their updates? This, after all is what many other linkedin users will be doing.

I’d welcome your advice.

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May 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

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1 tnrkitect May 12, 2010 at 1:10 am

I don’t link the two together. However, I will post a “tweet” there if I feel that it is something the “audience” there would appreciate, especially if it is a link to a blog post that I put together on my professional blog. (Personal blog remains personal ;-) )

This post reminds me I haven’t updated my LI status in ages. lol!

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2 Su May 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hi Brian,
You’ve got the right approach – use your good judgement and some common sense. Thanks for commenting

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3 Shireen Smith May 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

Thanks for this post. I have been wondering whether I should use this feature and update my status on Linked in each time I updated my tweets, and your article helped me to decide definitely not to do this.

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4 Su May 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Thats great Shireen, glad its helped you decide. You can always alter your settings to use the #in hashtag when on occasion it makes sense to update Linkedin from Twitter, just remember not to use any twitter jargon!

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5 Roberta Ward May 12, 2010 at 10:40 am

Su, I could not agree more. It is really easy to spam LinkedIn accidently and not realise your are hacking people off. I used to send my blog there every day, now I only send every 2/ 3 days. You are right about the ‘old school’ way that LinkedIn works too.
Facebook has a similar linking capability, and I tried the update thing there too, even to me it looked like spam and I stopped doing it pretty quickly.
The last thing you want, having built a targeted list of followers that like and trust you, is to annoy them with nonsense spammy updates. Be selective in what you send over.People will respect you more for it in my opinion.

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6 Su May 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Spot on Roberta.
Interesting how much of the internet allows us to determine if things aren’t working by watching what happens or doesn’t happen. If you don’t get visitors to your website, chances are they aren’t finding it, for example. (Not that its a problem for yours ;-)
On the other hand, some things are more subtle. How do we know if people have turned off our updates? We don’t. A case of do as you would be done by I guess!

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7 LadyBizBiz May 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

Very clearly put Sue, I too do not want to be inundated in LinkedIn by tweets from my connections on Twitter … it’s irritating to say the very least as I have in all likelihood, seen their tweet on Twitter.

I agree, I don’t think people have understood the subtleties of Social Media when they do this.

Perhaps this will help them to position LinkedIn and Twitter in the right place:

I would liken Twitter to the Business Exhibition for Architects on a global scale. You walk past them in the massive exhibition hall without knowing who they are or where they are from. You see thousands of people you don’t know. You might see a names on a name tag that you recognise, because it’s a business name you are familiar with. So you might stop and have a quick chat about your experience of that Architectural Practise or about someone you know who works there. Or you know the location of the business. It is likely there will be many of these fairly superficial quick chats with people you have met during the course of the exhibition. This is the Twitter stream where you will have brief (140) chats to many, many folk.

However with some exchanges a common interest is established and the most natural next step is to invite them to have a drink at the bar or a meal in the restaurant. You have now moved into the LinkedIn zone, where you have selected this connection to bring into your circle of close professional contacts. You build up a bond with the individual and consider them a close business friend. With close business friends you provide help and advice and they reciprocate. The quality and depth of your conversation changes. With close business friends you will in all likelihood meet up regularly to chew the fat …. you become ‘linked in’ to each others lives.

I hope my interpretation helps some people to grasp the difference between the two modes of social media. They do have very different functions without a doubt.

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8 Su May 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Thanks so much for this analogy, it really helps to clarify things :-) Don’t you agree?

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9 Benedikte Ranum May 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

Useful advice as always, Su. Action duly taken! ;-)
.-= Benedikte Ranum´s last blog ..Gathering moss: Norwegian architects PUSHAK exhibit in London =-.

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10 Alexia Leachman May 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

I completely agree with your post. It really irritates me when I see the same update from people in the 3 main sm sites. so much so that I myself wrote a blog post here
http://blossomingbrands.com/blog/2010/03/25/why-using-the-same-status-update-is-a-bad-idea/

I believe that by sharing updates in this way demonstrates a stark misunderstanding of who their audiences are and people are in effect barking outward with no consideration as who they are talking to and what they may be interested in. That’s before they’ve fully considered that Twitter is not really widely used so RTs, @s and bitly links all seem very puzzling.

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11 Su May 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Thanks for the link Alexia, interesting article!

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12 Ian R McAllister May 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Good article Su, and good observations. The obvious conclusion is to disconnect the two immediately: but there is both a problem there and an inbuilt solution.

The social media driven community means that we don’t know where someone will find us, or how they use/engage their social media. Lets envisage for a while that there might be two Su Butcher’s out there, or – more likely – that the average Jo has two or more LI accounts, neither of which are updated or contains the correlated information confirming you as you from your twitter account. If I find you on Twitter, how do I connect to you on LI, if I can’t confirm or correlate that its you? The result is often that the person who found you just wasted a connection request, neither of you made a connection, and you didn’t win any business!

Secondly, time is money. Do you really want to copy and paste or insert something new, fresh and bright into LI as an isolated platform? Most will initially, then forget about it, leaving a neglected appearance to your LI profile: just go and check how many LI profiles have “Happy Xmas” still stamped all over them!

LI thought about the problem you see, and the issues I pointed out, when they choose to connect LI to the outside world. You can enable your LI connection to twitter in three ways: fully open (retweet everything); unconnected; or optional. In the optional setting, you simply add the hashtag #in to your tweets that you wish to place on LinkedIn, and they are then allowed through the gateway. Any that you don’t add the hastag to, won’t appear.

At the moment I have everything pushed through for correlation. But in the next week I am going to add the #in hashtag to my twitterfeed settings, that takes items posted on my blogs, and then reset my LI connection to optional. This way, anything that is posted on the blog will get to LI, where as chat from hootsuite or my Blackberry won’t.

Good Luck!
.-= Ian R McAllister´s last blog ..Job Search UK: classified ads =-.

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13 Jon Bloor May 12, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I have cut off my RSS feed of LinkedIn updates becauase of this very issue and now just rely on the weekly “digest” email.

This probably means I am missing out on useful information so I may just go back and “hide” the updates from those who are Twittering into their LinkedIn status.

I don’t know why LinkedIn doesn’t offer an option to “filter” your Tweets. I have added the Squarespace social widget onto my blog to post my twitter updates, and this lets you filter any @replies or RTs out of the timeline it displays… which makes it much more readable for those who don’t follow you on Twitter.
.-= Jon Bloor´s last blog ..The social media election? =-.

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14 Su May 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Good suggestion about filtering tweets. As Ian mentions earlier we don’t all have time to go everywhere.
Overall my attitude is that we should remember we are people and do things which are reasonable for a person to do.
If it isn’t possible to be everywhere all the time (even with the technology available) then dont be there all the time – just do what is reasonable.

Thanks for the headsup on the widget, very interesting…

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15 Berniejmitchell May 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I think it is simple; you act online as you do off line – well it is as simple or as difficult as you make it.
I use the main three platforms for different types of ‘sharing’ and had taken my eye off Face book so I was ashamed when my wall looked like my twitter page, personally I relate to actions off line similar to what we do online. For me Face book is a friends and family thing and to my deep shame and horror I recently realised that every tweet had been posted to face book and LinkedIn as well!
I am fanatical about anything spamy and un-engaging because I strongly feel we have a responsibility to our friends / follows / tribe / readers / community.
We also have a responsibility to the platforms we use, how will people or those brands (that we love highlighting their errors) ever ‘get it’ if we set a bad example? Lee Smallwood has a cute way of saying that ROI in social media is return on involvement rather than return on investment. I love this idea, so we should set an example by the way we use it. Like you say Su, ‘LinkedIn only’ people are not the same as twitter users and, like Alexia pointed out, we will alienate others with our strange #TAG symbols, RT’s and secret codes etc.
When people get it into a conversation, sharing and abundance mentality rather than a broadcasting, advertising and false economy mentality online they will see it is the same as off line. For example you not would turn up to your Grandma’s birthday party in the local gastro pub in just your leather knickers (well you might) nor would you dump a 300 page PDF brochure on the table with 100 clients in room and hope something happens, you would present to them and possibly employ a little eye contact with one or two.
I hope that makes sense, thanks for reading.

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16 Su May 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Thanks Bernie,
Thinking about what you would do in the real world is excellent advice.

So should I hide everyone who defaults all their tweets to Linkedin then?

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17 Sharon Wilding May 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Well said Su. Although I tend to think it is inexperience rather than cussedness that drives people to over-post at the start and, like many of the people commenting here, once they realise the error of their ways they can be motivated to change! By sharing your blog we can help the process along!

The Purple Edge last blog

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18 Claire Thirlwall May 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm

A great mixture of views and lots to think about. My technique is to have some tweets that I pre-write on Hootsuite then send out over a few days. If I think they might interest my LinkedIn contacts too I’ll use Hootsuite to send them there too.

The reason I pre-write some tweets (not many) is that I like to take an hour or so to look at links and find out news. Rather than fill everyone’s screens with 10 tweets at one minute intervals I’ll defer posting them. It also means if a client looks at my twitter feed they won’t think I spend my whole time on twitter rather than working on their scheme!

I wasn’t sure how much influence LinkedIn had until someone I’d not seen for some time brought up a number of items I’d mentioned on LinkedIn. They had read the weekly summaries and gained a good impression of how my work was going.

I’m now off to check when I last update my LinkedIn page!

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19 Harald May 13, 2010 at 7:46 am

Dont agree,

its a functionality that linkedin builds to have as much interaction as possible. The mental picture of the proper (what is proper) usage of linkedin is your own. The reason i show my tweets on linkedin is staying in contact..and the reactions are positive. I have more then 500 linkedin followers and most react positive on my strange and mostly dumby tweets.
Staying in contact is being there when oppportunity knocks !

If you want linkedin to be a slow quiet media ok, dont read the status updates or ask linkedin to build in a hide function.
Facebook has a nice hide function for al those stupid farmville crap.

regards

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20 Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist May 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Wow, interesting post – not so much the subject, but the responses you’ve solicited. I say “not so much the subject” because frankly, I could not have imagined that anyone was sending all of their tweets to Linkedin.

I became a Linkedin user shortly after its inception. I used it to do some networking when I encountered the first layoff of my career. I have since maintained my account but it has been relegated to simply accepting connection requests from the many people I meet in my current job. I haven’t found a need to “use” Linkedin, per se, but I am more than happy to accommodate those that do. The most useful aspect for me is the few groups to which I belong and the occasional conversations they invoke. Who knows, maybe someday I will find myself in a situation where I will need Linked in for “all it is worth.”

On the contrary, I am very much an active user of Twitter. It is a mainstay in meeting my professional objectives these days. And I was delighted when Linkedin and Twitter got together because I do use the “#in” feature – once a week – to let my Linkedin connections know I have posted my weekly blog. That’s it.

Luckily, none of the folks to whom I am connected has subjected me to all of their tweets via Linkedin updates. I think this has less to do with not understanding the feature and more to do with most of my Linkedin connections not using Twitter.

In regard to your question, I am sure you have already responded to the sources of your problem. If not, simply summarizing what you communicated in your post should cause them to rethink their use (or should I say misuse) of the Linkedin/Twitter feature.

Good luck.

Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist
http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

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21 Su May 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Hi folks,
thanks so much for your input, all interesting perspectives.
I’ve had a message on Linkedin about ‘maybe I should just disconnect the people who do this?’ So I’ve got a suggestion about what best to do with people who are filling up your status updates list with inappropriate twitter messages.

Firstly, let them know you’re going to hide their updates and why. Linking to a discussion about the issues (like this blog post – for example) will help them understand why it matters.

Secondly, hide their updates like this:
If you go to your home page and hover over the right hand side of a status update you can hide that particular person’s status updates without removing them as a connection.

Thirdly, if they reply and tell you they’ve stopped updating wholesale via twitter, you can undo the ‘hide updates’ by scrolling down until you see the grey bar saying ‘Show Hidden Updates’ and click it – this will make the hidden updates visible and you can mouse over and click ‘Show’ on one of them to restore that person’s updates to your list.

I think most people who do this haven’t really thought it through and would be mortified to think of the damage it is doing to their reputation. And if you just remove them as a connection you are losing the benefit they provide and so are they – and they are losing the opportunity to learn something useful…

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22 Su August 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

If you liked the post about tweeting on Linkedin see the Screencast on how to turn off tweeting via linkedin here.

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23 Brian June 22, 2011 at 5:31 am

Hmm I disagree but I guess it depends on what industry you are in. If someone in my network doesn’t understand what tweeting is, that’s more of a concern for me than them.

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24 Mike Attard November 20, 2011 at 10:21 am

but what if you don’t want to receive tweets. You accept someone on LI but don’t accept to receive their tweets!

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25 Andy Black June 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Hi Su,

Thanks for the article warning not to link Twitter with LinkedIn.

I just joined Twitter yesterday in my bid to get my head round this online branding and social media stuff.

I see you’re using the Thesis theme too. I was tempted to move away from it myself, but will stick to it seeing as I can see how it looks good with more content.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
Andy

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26 Su June 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for your comments Andy, Thesis works well for me, and can be adjusted relatively easily.

If you click the ‘Twitter’ tab at the top of this blog you can see all my twitter related posts including some slide decks and screencasts which may be useful.

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27 Mary Cross August 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

I’ve too been weighing up whether to de-link my account and you’ve just made the decision for me. I was getting concerned that the email updates sent out would include a large number of status updates from me particularly where there’d been a conversation with someone. I’m finally getting to grips with Bufferapp for spacing out my tweets so now it sounds like I need to have a look a Hootsuite to send some updates to LinkedIn. Always learning!

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28 Claire Thirlwall September 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm

This is a tricky one. Even a few months ago it was unlikely that your contacts would follow you on your Facebook Page, LinkedIn and Twitter so I felt that when I found an interesting item to share it over all three. I use Hootsuite so depending on the content I send it to one or all of the platforms I use. I also hate the “bung the whole of your twitter feed in LinkedIn option” as the context is so different.

I don’t notice many simultaneous posts on muliple platforms – I don’t read every single tweet, Facebook status update or LinkedIn email so I don’t assume my contacts do. The one I do notice is those with multiple twitter accounts sending out identical tweets on all the accounts at the same time. It seems an odd move as presumably they have a reason for having various accounts and the content should vary?

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29 Mike Attard November 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Good on you. It’s inspired me to tell every contact to stop tweeting me or be removed.

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