19 Apr / 2011
A few years back, Facebook came and swept the web in a whirlwind of networking. Then Twitter arrived, and things were never the same again. Web users have been warring since, and so are the two social networking stalwarts, on who’s better.
If you have used both Facebook and Twitter, you’ll agree that neither is better or worse than the other. They are two different social mediums with comparatively unique features. They are both here to stay; Facebook still retains a majority of its loyal subscribers, and Twitter is only too happy to accommodate newbies.
The inherent differences between Facebook and Twitter are in the nature of its users: friends (Facebook) vs. followers (Twitter) and the nature of use: like (Facebook) vs. tweet (Twitter). These two primarily determine the user’s activity on either social medium.
- Facebook is a network of friends that allows users to connect with their real world, core peer group on the web. You are likely to make virtual connections with people you don’t know in the real world, but your ‘inner circle’ of friends will always come first.
Twitter on the other hand has people following you, mostly people you don’t know, with whom you have little chance of making any personal connection, or is least bit interested doing the same.
As a social medium, Facebook is more personal and home-like; a virtual coffee shop where friends gather, share stories, experiences, pictures and chat. Twitter is more business like in comparison.
- You will make a lot of mutual connections on Facebook; friends of friends with whom you can share notes, comments and pictures. Twitter is more of a one-sided relationship. You may have several followers interested in what you have to say, but you don’t necessarily share the sentiment and follow them back.
Facebook banks on obligation. Rejecting mutual friends is often uncomfortable. Twitter does not care because most followers are just random people on the web without a face, per say.
- When you Like something on Facebook, you really like it. You want to share it with your friends. Sharing on Facebook is a consequence of liking something, not a reason for liking content. In other words, you don’t like because you want to share content, but share because you have liked it.
Contrarily, you Tweet because you want to share content with your followers. If your followers find your content useful, they will re-tweet to share it with their followers.
Facebook is more natural social networking that happens because you naturally like to share things you like. Twitter is forced social networking because you want people to like what you share and spread the word.
Do you see the difference? The motivation behind liking something on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter is completely different. Where you continue to share a personal connection with your friends, you maintain a formal relationship with your followers.
Both should work for you, depending on what you intend to achieve from a Facebook and Twitter account. If you have a blog and can’t decide which social media will work best for you, try with both Like and Tweet buttons on your site. User response will decide.
In conclusion, I will quote a fellow Twitter user: “Facebook is for friends you grow up with. Twitter is for ‘friends’ you didn’t grow up with.” I think that pretty much sums up the difference between Facebook’s and Twitter’s social networking concepts.