Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest: What are the differences?

This is not a which platform is the best. Rather, I’m interested in two things how one would use them differently, either as an individual or as an organization (for this post I can only talk from a personal level).

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest function differently for me. Facebook is good for goofing off and for seeing what actual real life friends are up to–the same vibe that would be there if I was out at a dinner party or watching a game at a sports bar with intimate friends. I try to keep it to real life friends–no padding of the friends list (are people still doing that?). I also follow pages from interests.

Pinterest, I use it as a visual dream and inspiration book. Basically visual representations of whatever I’m interested in, whatever inspires me, etc etc. I don’t even use it to connect or network, it’s just me stuck in my head with my daydreams.

Twitter, now this is the interesting one. I’m on there to follow my academic interests–social media and also international politics but I find it the most problematic to use coherently. Several reasons for that:

  • Many accounts push out update after update of nothing but links. And I’m not talking spam, but actual organizations, just posting links, often to their own site.
  • Some public personalities and authorities in some of the areas, post a lot of intimate and personal stream-of-consciousness style, and sometimes at a rate of 10 posts an hour which crowds out the feed a little.
  • I am also interested in sports, and other things that I wouldn’t mind following on Twitter like events on my favorite series and what have you. Is Twitter necessarily only for following one area or one niche?
  • I do chat some political stuff. Nothing childish, and no flame wars, but political nonetheless. This is even though I only follow one political personality, but I have a list (maybe I should discontinue it?)

What I’m grappling with is how to resolve all of the above issues as far as my Twitter use. Even the political stuff which I initially was about to say is self-inflicted is a tough one, as politics is very much relevant to studying social media. Message diffusion, hashtags, agenda setting, media narratives, etc. are all interesting topics.  Any ideas?

The fourth platform, Google+ I’m completely stumped. Perhaps i can migrate the fan pages from Facebook to there, especially now that Google Reader has been retired. It may be relatively painless as I’m already in the Google ecosystem.

There’s of course Linkedn and Tumblr, but by now I think one would be getting over stretched.

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