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Rob Westbrook

Rob Westbrook

Rob Westbrook

A Facebook User’s Primer to Twitter Statuses

January 14, 2010, by Rob, category blog


One of the great uses of Facebook, Twitter, and other social network sites is the ability to share real-time information. From a Christian perspective, the social networking sites provide a means of, among other things, sharing prayer needs very quickly.

Many of these sites provide integration with the each other. Two of those are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter users have the ability to update their Facebook status with their latest twitter. For instance, I can update my Twitter feed and that update automatically becomes my Facebook status. This saves updating both separately.

But for those who may only use Facebook, these Twitter status updates can be confusing. Because of Twitter’s 140 character limit, abbreviations and other shortcuts are used frequently to include as much information as possible. These shortcuts may not be familiar to the Facebook user and can be the cause of miscommunication.

So I want to share just a little about these Twitter based statuses for the Facebook user. I’ll use a recent incident as an example.

Recently one of my Facebook friends updated Twitter, which automatically updated her Facebook status. Here’s what it looked like on Facebook.

Within 20 minutes, here are the comments on her Facebook status.

Obviously her facebook friends were very concerned about her announcement. They thought that my friend was announcing she has leukemia. But her status was not about her condition, but the condition of someone else.

How can we know that? What are the clues?

The first is the @ symbol directly in front of what looks like a name. And it is a name, a Twitter user name. The @ symbol is used in Twitter to direct a comment to that person and, sometimes, used to name a person. It’s Twitter’s convention for a person’s user name.

So, in this status update, the person posting it was referring to someone else’s status. This can also be done with a “retweet.” A retweet is forwarding someone else’s Twitter status. You can recognize a re-tweet. It’s usually prefixed with the letters “RT” or the end of the status will be something like “(via @robwestbrook).”

The status my friend put on Facebook was a retweet from someone else, @AveryWillis. He is the one with the leukemia, not my friend.

Also, at the end of her status you see this “// pray”. When you see the “//”, or double slashes, that indicates the person is adding a comment to the retweet. Here, the one posting this is commenting that people should pray for the person she retweeted.

I hope this helps you understand these sometimes cryptic status updates you may see on Facebook. Knowing a few of these Twitter short codes can give you a much better view of what the person is posting.

So, what do you think ?

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