Twitter. Facebook. These words just stir up a lot of different emotions. You might be active on one, or either or both of them, but the fact remains that these two have become social media giants over the years. What is also funny about them is that though they serve the same purpose of letting you express your opinion or to create an opinion, the reasons why we choose to go for either of them is starkly different.
The two social networking titans are often named in the same sentence. Yet, when you look at the use of the two, they couldn’t be any more different. Whilst Facebook is argued to be fully mainstream, Twitter, with 13% usage of the US population, has a more targeted audience.
Looking at the considerable differences that persist in the use of the two social media giants, it won’t be unfair to draw a comparison between them and see if it is actually possible to deduce concretely as to which among the two is better.
Here are the major differences between Facebook and Twitter:
#1. Life Expectancy Of A Status Update And A Tweet
Twitter’s famed “tweets” obviously have a very short life expectancy. It might range anywhere between an hour to 2 hours depending upon the topic of discussion. Many insights by statisticians reveal that about 92% engagement of a tweet happens within the first hour after being tweeted.
A Facebook update, on the other hand, remains far longer on people’s walls and also in their memories, as it keeps on making rounds again and again in your friends’ news feed. The life of a status update can stretch over several days until all interaction on the topic dries up.
What Does It Mean?
The shorter life expectancy of a tweet eventually leads to a higher posting frequency. Statistics reveal that you can easily post 1-4 times an hour on Twitter to have a high impact whereas, on Facebook, only 0.5 status updates per day seem to be the most effective. The pie chart below helps in understanding things better.
#2. Followers vs Friends
In the early days of Twitter, it funnily called followers as friends; only to change it later on. However, a follower on twitter and a friend on Facebook might have a very different meaning. This could be understood by the feelings that the very words incite in you upon hearing them for the first time. A friend on Facebook is often someone you know personally and hence has a deeper personal connection than a follower on Twitter. Of course, you can build meaningful relationships on Twitter too, but the probability of you knowing your Facebook friends personally against your followers or following tells a different story. So, in terms of personal interaction, following someone on Twitter is more detached than a Facebook friend.
What Does It Mean?
The reasons for you using Twitter and Facebook are completely different. A Twitter following can be based strictly on interests whereas a friend on Facebook comes with a much deeper social connect.
While we have established that Facebook is more personal, Twitter presents its users with a chance to interact with the people that they have admired all their life. It also becomes a way of contacting someone who can help in times of an emergency. The fact that almost all prominent personalities of the world such as politicians, celebrities, sportspersons are on Twitter, the medium brings its users one step closer to their idols. Facebook, on the other hand, feels juts more personal as you can be in touch with you near and dear ones at all times. To know how Twitter can help you connect with other people that you can’t achieve with Facebook, take a look at this tweet by India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj:
(Image Courtesy: Twitter)
What Does It Mean?
In terms of a social connect; Twitter becomes the more viable solution. Facebook definitely has a more personal touch to it, but with the ability that Twitter provides you with; that is being able to connect with certain eminent personalities makes it a better medium than Facebook in this aspect.
The speed in which messages can be passed on also plays a crucial factor in why we use a particular social media outlet. And, the picture above explains to us that Twitter comes in handy in terms of the passing of messages. Also, with the advent of digital journalism, Twitter has become more like a newsroom. News these days break on Twitter and later on news channels. Facebook, on the other hand, is definitely not as quick as its counterpart.
(Image Courtesy: Guardian)
#5. Online Friends vs Offline Friends
On Facebook, you interact with your family, real life friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. On Twitter, you talk to people, who you might not know but are interested in similar things as you. This is how the argument went for some time. As both networks evolved this might not be entirely true. You have most likely experienced it yourself that there are many occasions where things happen the other way round. The argument that Facebook focuses on the Social Graph and Twitter on the Interest Graph is still valid here. Even though the two are merging to some extent, Grandma is on Facebook, whilst she might not be on Twitter.
What Does It Mean?
The argument that Twitter focuses on users' 'interest graph' and Facebook focuses on the 'social graph' is perhaps still valid, even after more than a decade of its genesis. Building a large following with a business purpose in mind is easier to achieve on Twitter. Facebook profiles still represent a more private layer, which some don’t want to build out in such a way. So we sometimes should be a little more careful with friending than following.
There might be many such obvious differences between Facebook and Twitter but the fact of the matter is that mankind has benefited from both in its own ways. And, as the world continues to grow and these social media outlets continue to evolve, you never know what differences and similarities might arise in the future. As of now, all that can be said is that both Facebook and Twitter has made life a little easier.