Ever since LinkedIn improved its sharing features for profile updates and added an option to connect directly to your Twitter account, users across the globe have been merrily tweeting straight to their LinkedIn profile page and vice versa.
For those less familiar with Twitterville and Twitterese in particular, these posts can seem like complete nonsense. If you have never seen a hashtag or a shortened ‘bitly’ URL, then posts on some of your contacts’ profiles would surely seem like a new language. There is also the issue of the frequency of posts, which is far faster and more furious for the avid tweep (Twitter person for the uninitiated) compared to a regular ‘status updater’ on LinkedIn alone. This over-eager posting on LinkedIn has started to create a few grumbles and may well polarize social networking aficionados into two camps on LinkedIn, arguably one of the world’s most popular professional social networking sites to date, with over 60 million users worldwide.
When LinkedIn chose to connect to Twitter, it seemed like a great idea to simplify the process of updating multiple social media channels simultaneously. However, this fails to take account of the different cultures that exist in both channels, which could have major repercussions for the users. Twitter has a much more informal tone and tweeps regularly add personal comments or information about their non-professional life, even if they are using the profile for business. This is less accepted so far on LinkedIn, where posts are seen as highly professional only, relating to your work or career in some way.
Perhaps the two-way traffic will introduce more people to Twitter, perhaps Twitter will adopt a more professional tone as a result; as yet there is no fixed answer. Suffice it to say that it has started to make a few ripples, whether they turn into waves that upset the boat for your LinkedIn profile remains to be seen. From comments I have heard amongst peers, people over-using Twitter on LinkedIn are at risk of at best alienating some of their contacts, and at worst losing their established network as people start to strike off annoying tweep contacts.
So, how to make the best of both? There is an option to Tweet selectively from LinkedIn and to only post tweets that contain the hashtag #in. The Tweets application offered by LinkedIn also allows you to find and follow your contacts on LinkedIn and displays your tweets as a separate application when people click on your profile (more information on the LinkedIn blog here). Nobody has the rule book on this one, but I for one will maintain selective posting of tweets and make the most of LinkedIn’s other excellent features, such as groups and discussions. Variety is the spice of life, so why should all social networking sites have the same flavour?