Sunday, June 21, 2009

Facebook and Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are different and should be used separately and for different purposes. I bring this up, because it is pretty clear that quite a few people are treating Facebook like Twitter, and I find it mildly annoying. Only mildly annoying, because there is an easy way of dealing with it.

First of all though, it is easy to see why people confuse the two. They are quite similar. You use both to inform people of your status, and things that you are doing, or things that are on your mind. They are both in a sense a bit of an ego trip and a popularity contest. They can both contribute to your need to feel wanted and accepted.

But they are very different. Twitter restricts you to 140 character posts. Small tweets. Links. "I'm having coffee.", "This shop sux.", "check this out - ". You can put a lot more interesting detail in there, of course, but it is still fundamentally limited. More limiting, is the level of interactivity. Yes, you can cross reference tweets, but it isn't very convenient, and doesn't really facilitate conversation.
I have used Twitter for a while, and, like 60% of people that try it get bored of it within a few weeks. The top 10% of Twitter users produce 90% of the tweets. Whereas on Facebook and other similar sites, it's much closer to 10% producing 30%. Twitter is more like a news feed. You subscribe to producers you want to hear from.

Facebook is a much richer, engrossing, social experience. People can post quite a bit of detail, images, videos, links, but much more importantly, the threaded conversations under each status post are what really makes Facebook excellent. It's engaging, social and lets face it, a lot of fun. Checking the notifications to see which threads have been updated keeps you immediately up to date with all your conversations.

So, if you are posting small, inane, irrelevant posts about your coffee, or making the bed in Facebook, you are completely missing the point. That is what Twitter is for. And you'll get followers who want to hear everything you dribble out. Use Facebook to post interesting things that may start conversations. Facebook is more like being in a room of friends, start a discussion, but don't update people with what you are doing every ten minutes. It's boring, and people will simply hide your status updates.

Predictions for new Facebook features:
- multiple threaded conversations under a single status update.
- personal stats like, %friends hiding your status, and %friends commented on your status in the last month
- better email style conversation support, and longer term look for Google Wave integration.

Then, there's always blogs for people who really want to get a bunch of stuff off their chests. Like this trollop :_)


Eva Gallant said...

I found this interesting. I lasted about a week on Twitter. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who got bored with it.

Columbo said...

Perhaps the problem is that the majority of fb users couldn't be bothered to maintain info in both fb and twitter... I couldn't be bothered to even try out twitter after what I read/heard about it.