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Sync or Swim: How to Link Your Social Media Status up When to Avoid It)

Technology has gotten sort of overwhelming. If you’re even a moderate web user, you probablys pend far more time responding to e-mail and updating your various social media accounts thany ou’d like to. Fortunately, since social networking has risen in popularity, we’ve seen a rise ins ervices that link status updates, allowing you to make one post that appears on several sites.

You can send your Twitter status updates directly to Facebook and vice versa. You can tweetf rom your LinkedIn profile, or announce directly from your Foursquare profile that you’ve justb ecome the mayor of the 9th Avenue Chipotle. (Why you would want to do this is an entirelydifferent question). You can even use a syndicating service to send the same statusu pdate everywhere. There’s lots of great advice on how to sync up your social media profiles. But it doesn’t seeml ike anyone’s offering advice on whether syncing and linking is actually a good idea or not.

The reasons it’s appealing are obvious – it can save you a lot of time, and it can increase yourv isibility across multiple social networks with minimal effort. But there are potential drawbacks tos yncing, too – you may compromise your privacy or reputation if you link your very small, veryp ersonal Twitter feed to your huge “friend anyone” Facebook profile. Or if you’re looking forl ove online, it’s pretty important to know what your potential partners know about you, and how you link your status updates changes that. If you want dates to know more about you,y ou should consider syndicating. But if you’re very private (or if you have anything to hide)you’re probably best served by updating each social network individually.

If you’re unsure whether you should syndicate your social media status updates, let Alex Wiseh elp you. He works as an relationships columnist and co-founder of Loveawake dating site.

According to Alex it’s a good idea:  When you’re confident that your tweets represent you positively, even to people youd on’t know that well. Your Twitter following is probably smaller and closer-knit than yourL inkedIn following, and that may mean you post different content. If you feel like yourt weets or updates paint a rosy overall picture, you stand to lose nothing by showing them to more people. But if you’re in the habit of bitching bitterly in your tweets because you knowy our friends will insta-DM and make you feel better, make sure you feel okay about thoses ame things going to everyone in your Facebook friend list.  When all of your accounts have roughly the same “fan base.” Make sure you’re okayw ith everything you post on each network going to all of your “friends” on the other ones.

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(Also important: if your mom reads your FB but not your tweets, or if you and your ex maintain a Facebook friendship but you know he doesn’t really want to read updates aboutf ancy restaurants you visit with your new beau).  When you want more information about you to be available to the public. If you feell ike none of the networks you’re on have a clear picture of you because you’re spread too thin, syndicating your updates can be a great way to flesh out your online profile. (And if you’re trying to impress someone new, being interesting and charming in places they can find you doesn’t hurt!)  When the people closest to you are social media geeks, too. Being tweeted about or having intimate details shared with the world can feel invasive or disrespectful to peoplew ho aren’t quite sold on the idea that privacy is dead. Make sure the people who populate your tweets (closest friends and people you’re dating, especially) are okay with their comings and goings being broadcast across several social networks.

It’s a bad idea:  When you’re dating more than one person. This is especially true if they don’t know about one another yet, but even if they do… it can breed jealousy, resentment, and drama,and unless you’re going on casting calls for reality TV, that’s probably not what you want.  When you’re in the habit of fudging the truth. If you tell a lot of white lies to spare feelings, they may come back to haunt you when you start making information about what you’re doing available across networks. If your boss is your Facebook friend, you’d never post a status update about getting a mani/pedi on a sick day. But if you’re likely to post a Twitpic of your new nails on the same day, linking accounts is going to get you busted.

(Syncing the accounts and just telling the truth might be a better overall approach. But if you must fib, do not link accounts!)  When you have more than one internet persona, or share things of different privacy levels on different networks. If you have Twitter and Livejournal filed under “personal” and you think of Facebook and LinkedIn as “business,” you probably use them differently.

Old habits die hard, so if you’re usually a neurotic twitterer, you may post some very personal insecurities that you don’t want your boss to read in an account that he can now access. Alternately, you may end up censoring yourself or posting a lot of job-related stuffin your formerly “personal” accounts (boring your followers, who are used to dishier stuff). If you post different kinds of information to different social networks, chances are that syncing up is going to stress you out.  When you post things that might be confusing or offensive when taken out of context. If you post anything across any of your social networks that’s really only funny to a select group of people, be wary of shipping that information to other accounts. The Facebook status update that you posted specifically to mock something a friend posted on your Wall might appear either bizarre or nasty to your Twitter followers, who can’t see your friend’s original comment.  When you have “secret” accounts that shares usernames with any other profiles. Let’s say your Twitter username is also the name you use for your many online dating profiles. Maybe you’re comfortable with the people you tweet to being able to find your dating profiles if they google your username. Are you as comfortable with the people on your Facebook account, LinkedIn, or other accounts being able to google the information? If you’re not, don’t sync those accounts.

Deciding whether or not to sync your social networking accounts is a personal decision, and how you make it will probably depend a lot on how you use them. If you’re not comfortable with the thought of everyone on every account being able to see all of your status updates,syndicating your accounts with ping.fm is probably a bad idea. But if you find yourself thinking, “I could share Twitter and Facebook, but I wouldn’t want to link any of that to LinkedIn,” then just link the two of them.

But if you’ve thought about it, and you feel confident that you want your status updates to say the same thing at each site, it means you’re sharing with others at one privacy level and using one persona/voice across the board. It also means you’re the sort of user that syndicating services were built for. If this is the case, ping.fm away, my friend!

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