Isn’t Twitter just like Facebook updates? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this misconception. I think this issue can be attributed to the Twitter homepage’s question “What are you doing?” This was always the main purpose of Facebook updates, to let your friends now what you’re doing. While this may be an aspect of how people use twitter, it is a small one. Twitter is used for much more which isn’t exactly explained on the homepage.
Facebook has recently remodeled their homepage, making it very similar to Twitter in that users are encouraged to post links, share content and it asks the question “What’s on your mind?” While some might say that NOW facebook updates and twitter updates are essentially the same, there are still a few very big differences. (note: I’m not saying one is better than the other, rather that they serve different purposes) Here are 5 of the major differences…
Facebook now offers many of the same functions that twitter does. The difference is that Twitter focuses on these functions while Facebook’s live feed is only one of it’s many functions. While this may make facebook a more “well rounded” service, the great amount of functionality options create a a lot of clutter on the site, taking focus away from the feed. When you’re on twitter, you’re there for one reason.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two services is who reads your updates. On facebook, the only people reading your updates are the people that you are friends with, meaning you both approved the friendship. When you post a message on twitter you are talking to the world. Unless you keep your tweets private (an uncommon practice on twitter) anyone can search twitter and find your tweets. Additionally, the people who receive your tweets in their homepage feed are anyone who’s interested enough to follow you, whether or not you follow them back. This allows you to connect with anyone, not just who you already know.
On the facebook feed, the conversation around an update comes in the form of comments that are listed under the update. This greatly limits the amount of conversation you can have because it does not encourage the person who posted the original update to partake in the conversation any further. Also, on twitter, if someone replies to an update, the conversation stays relevant because people continue to read about it. On facebook, once the original update moves down the feed, so does the conversation. Both facebook and twitter provide a private message option; facebook uses a direct messaging system and provides a private chat window while twitter only provides the direct message.
Twitter makes it much easier for valuable content to go viral than facebook. Someone can always post the link again but this is not as easy, or effective as twitter’s retweet. To add on to the audience issue, when you post a link on facebook, only your friends can find it. On twitter if you post a link, anyone can find it and share it with their followers using retweets.
You can search the content on twitter. If you’re looking for posted links or any other content, just go to search.twitter.com and search keywords. There is no way to search the facebook feed. You either have to just keep scrolling, or remember who posted the update and check their feed.
The facebook feed and twitter may seem very similar in concept, however they are very different in purpose. Still not convinced? Here’s a very general comparison…
Facebook is a great way to see what your friends are doing. Twitter is a great way to see what the world is doing (friends included).