Twitter IS NOT the Same As Facebook Status Updates

twitter-facebookIsn’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…

1) Focus

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.

2) Audience

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.

3) Conversation

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.

4) Retweets

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.

5) Searchability

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.

So…in conclusion

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).

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9 thoughts on “Twitter IS NOT the Same As Facebook Status Updates

  1. In the past I’ve tried to separate the two. I’m doing some experimenting with blending (using friendfeed atm). I had originally tried porting in my updates from Twitter to be my status. This was met with harsh criticism (rightly so…Facebook isn’t Twitter and my volume of tweets is extremely high).

    I do like the friendfeed app though. It will be interesting to see how far facebook skews into becoming like Twitter or being used by more people for business.

    1. I once tried using twitter updates as my facebook status and quickly realized my mistake. Two very different audiences and different purposes.

      I’ve been using friendfeed off and on. I don’t know why it just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t feel like I really connect with people on friendfeed. Still keeping an open mind though.

  2. I find the Twitter world much more interesting,funny and engaging. Possibly, my friends are just not that funny or they just don’t want to talk to me–not sure? The FB friends definetely hated the Twitter feed into their FB accounts. Would love it if there was a way to selectively choose which Twitter’s to send to FB?

    1. I much prefer twitter now as well.

      It would be interesting if an app was created that allows you to choose which tweets to add to your fb feed. Even better, what if any links you add to a tweet could be posted as a link on facebook so you’re only sharing content rather than conversation.

  3. The main difference seems to be searchability. Other than that, you’re really reaching on some of these differences.

    In terms of audience, a person can make their facebook page public or they could create a fan or group page to post to a wider audience than their personal page.

    As for conversation, how can you say twitter is better? The word count alone limits it. How does a conversation being listed in one group of comments somehow limit conversation? How do comments not encourage the initial poster to maintain the conversation? If anything, facebook’s compiling of all comments makes it easier to have a conversation because people can see all the comments. Twitter is like having a conversation in which you can only hear the people who are speaking directly to you.

    I also don’t get how posting a link is somehow harder than retweeting. Your friends/followers are really the only ones who see what you post. I’ve had MUCH more success promoting my blog on Facebook than Twitter.

    And in the end, Twitter is usually far more superficial. Yeah, I can find out what the world is doing but nine times out of ten it’s nonsense. If anything, the only reason Twitters set up is better is because it doesn’t call as much attention to each entry so you can get away with spewing out whatever’s on your mind. And honestly, I’m not exactly sure that that’s a good thing.

    1. SoulHonky,

      Some good points, thanks for joining the conversation.

      In terms of audience, while people can make their profiles public, in order for the content they add to come up in your feed, you have to agree to be friends. Therefore, without being able to search fb feeds for content, your audience is only really limited to people you already know. Fan pages and group pages can increase your potential audience, however the average individual is not going to create a fan page for themselves, and groups are meant for groups, not individuals.

      You are right about tracking conversation on twitter. While there are some methods such as the use of hashtags, twitter needs to create a better way to track conversations. On facebook however, the interface isn’t very conversation friendly. It’s more of an announcement board. Very little conversation actually spurs from articles posted on facebook partly because it’s only at the top of the feed for a short time. On twitter, Retweets keeps the most relevant, valuable information present in the feed.

      On facebook there is no call to action for people to share content with their friends. People don’t typically find a link that someone posted on facebook, then repost it for their friends to read. On twitter, users are expected to RT or content that they find valuable.

      I’ll say again, I’m not saying one service is necessarily better than the other, I’m saying that they are very different services that are used for different reasons. You may very well find more success promoting your blog on facebook, which means that that is the better promotion tool for YOU.

      There may be a lot of clutter on twitter, but it’s anything but superficial. I have found a great deal of valuable information and created strong relationships through twitter, as have many others.

  4. You make valid points all of them. I think that we want to be heard as much as we don’t want to leave comments in the wrong circumstances. It’s a human response to a human problem — as contadictory as we all are.

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