When is it appropriate to cross-post or double-post articles, statuses, photos, or anything else on social networking sites? With the introduction of Google+ to the crowded field of social networks it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with any social network without something giving way. Seriously–who has the time to browse, update, and keep up with five or six different networks on a daily or weekly basis?
It can be argued that cross-posting eliminates the need to create new content on each social network site because it is effortless to post the same content using the +V and +C (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V in Windows) command functions. In addition you may have content to share with people on two different social sites because your social circles vary between network and your visitors may miss out on something extraordinary that you might say.
But when cross-posting is only meant to repost the same information again from one network to another, friends using both networks may be able to view your profile page on both sites and may find the same content twice. What is bothersome about posting the same information on both networks is that it makes your profile boring because of the lack of new and varied content.
Think of this analogy: AP, AFP, and Reuters news articles are published everywhere on web. You can find the same article written by the same author either on MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News, Google News, or your local newspaper website. Same content, different location.
The answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this entry is: it depends. First, you may want to make different flavors of content specific to each network. Alternatively you may be posting content to a larger audience and need that reach to be as big as possible without much effort. It is possible to rework your posts slightly so that each network has site-specific content. For example, CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) would post on their customer help service Twitter page with a salutation such as, “Hey tweeps, it’s time to call it a night. Thanks for letting us help!” Other site-specific posts can include language like, “Hey Facebookers, check out my STC Atlanta 2009 travel photos on my Flickr Album.”
The second “it depends” reason is if the content is great enough to be shared across networks. It can be justified as being important enough that users on two or more networks might find interesting. For example, I posted content on Google+ and then reposted it on Facebook because I thought it was cool enough for others to see.
It all falls under the fact that people on social networking sites want to see new information being shared, not the same thing from both sites. Cross-posting and double-posting are lazy excuses for using social networking sites and it doesn’t make anyone’s social network a rich experience. The best guidance is to avoid it if possible, make posting site-specific if it contains the same content, and find great reasons for posting the same information across different sites.