So a while ago I read a post called Twitter versus Facebook: Should You Choose One? on the twitip blog. It got heaps of responses from people, me included. I didn’t feel the urge to respond in detail until @valeriestevens raised the issue on a twitter post again today that got me thinking. Thanks @ValerieStevens!
So my take on twitter versus facebook? It’s like comparing apples to oranges, or your toaster to your oven. They are two totally different tools that serve different purposes with a small crossover in the middle.
Twitter is a microblogging tool, by which I mean you use it to post short (140 character or less) updates onto what is essentially a time ordered message board. You connect with people on twitter by “following” them and replying to their messages, you can even send them a direct message if you feel the need. Relationships are not automatically reciprocal unless you’ve got the settings geared that way, and there’s a much greater sense of immediacy with tweets generally being more frequent and up to date than facebook activity. For example, people tweet current events as they happen, such as the recent bombings in India, or the inauguration, but most people update thair facebook status once or twice a day at best.
Facebook is much more complex than a microblogging tool like twitter. Your status update on facebook is like a microblog all on its own. When I fill in my status update on facebook e.g. “Molly is writing a blog post about twitter and facebook” that’s a microblog all on it’s own. You can even connect your facebook status to your twitter if you feel the need. Additionally if someone wants to see your stuff on facebook, they have to “friend” you and you have to grant them permission so the relationship is reciprocal.
A special mention about facebook requests and twitter links
Based on feedback from the twitterverse, I’ve given a mention about facebook’s notifications, why they exist, and an attempt at the apple-orange comparison to draw a parallel in response to twitter. This is my take on things.
Things on facebook are often a little more complex, and may not occur at the same breakneck speed as they do on twitter. Facebook’s more complex features mean that the main activity tends to stay within with bounds of facebook, which I think is why facebook users receive so many requests and invites, because we use these to essentailly promote aspects of facebook. On the other hand, my twitter network often sends me outside twitter with blogs to read, reports to bookmark, webinars to attend and so on.
Be a glutton if you feel like it
I don’t think you can compare the two and come to any meaningful conclusion. I think they complement each other and there’s no need to select only one.