Our guests on the latest GeekWire Podcast were the husband-and-wife duo of Monica Guzman Preston of Intersect and Jason Preston of Parnassus Group — two early adopters and power users of social media. Monica, our former Seattle P-I colleague, has been a model for reporters and others looking to use Twitter to connect with their communities in new ways, and Jason is heavily involved in social media as part of his work on Tweet House and other projects.
We had a fun discussion about the role of Twitter and Facebook in our daily lives, and the competition between them. If you missed the show, or just prefer text, continue reading for edited excerpts, and add your thoughts to the conversation in the comments below.
Todd Bishop (GeekWire): How are you feeling about Twitter at this point — do you look at it as a utility, or is it one of the next great tech platforms that’s going to shape how people do things, and how they build things on the Internet.
Monica: It depends on whether you’re thinking of it from the consumer side or the brand side, because obviously brands have found Twitter to be incredibly valuable for a couple of years now because it’s never been a walled garden, like Facebook. It’s always been open. But at the same time, it’s always been a Facebook vs. Twitter thing on so many functionalities, and I know that in the worlds of social commerce right now, people are looking to Facebook as having more value because they can drive more attention, they can drive more conversions, more sales than Twitter. Twitter tends to have higher traffic but lower conversions. That said, on the fun side, I have a lot of fun Twitter. I don’t think that’s about to stop.
Todd: You use it almost as an email replacement. When we’ve communicated it’s been direct messages.
Jason: In general we’ve found that Twitter works a lot better than email, and sometimes just calling people. If I have someone’s phone number and we’re connected on Twitter I’ll sometimes DM them. … It sort of makes it feel like a platform like SMS is a platform, not a platform in the way that Microsoft has Windows as a platform. A traditional technology platform is not what they’ve built at this point.
John Cook (GeekWire): We had a story this week on Twitter, that only 13 percent of Americans are using that. It’s up from 8 percent, so it’s pretty dramatic growth, but it’s still not seeing the penetration that you see with Facebook. … Twitter has really taken off in the media channels, I would say. So there’s a perception that it is a higher penetration. But if you go into the heartland, people aren’t using Twitter.
Todd: So how do you guys split up your focus between Facebook and Twitter?
Monica: It’s a big mess. People have kind of been saying, all along, there’s going to be social media fatigue, they’re just going to want that one platform. And in a way, Facebook has become that one platform, if there’s one.
Jason: You rephrase your tweets to post to Facebook.
Monica: I used to connect my Twitter to Facebook, so it would stream right in, but it didn’t get the right kind of response on Facebook, and in a way each social media platform really does have its own language, and you have to speak it. It takes time, but I think it’s worth it.
Jason: I also used to have tweets going in and it got non-stop complaints.
Todd: See, John has the link from Twitter going into Facebook. I don’t subscribe to your Facebook updates anymore.
John: See, I don’t care. That’s what it basically comes down to. I just don’t care.
Jason: In the words of the Sidekick, they can suck it.
Monica: But there’s been some new ones that have come in, like Instagram. I am really loving Instagram. It’s actually making me think of my photos and think of how to make them better. So that’s found its little niche. And then of course I work at Intersect. I do most of my tweets and Facebook posts through Intersect, and they move over to social media. But I’m finding room for a lot.
Listen to the full episode below for much more, including Monica and Jason discussing their respective jobs and answering our questions about their lives as a geek couple.
Check back this weekend for a new episode, we’ve got another fun one in the works.