I read a compelling article this past week about the drastic changes that social media has seen in the past 10 years. I was shocked to realize that there was no Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube on September 11, 2001. How different would the experience of 9/11 have been had the people in the middle of the tragedies been on their smart phones, tweeting live updates and pictures. The thought is chilling.
It made me ponder how different our world is because of these new social media outlets.
I use both Facebook and Twitter daily to stay on top of my social media game. Social Media has become a huge part of my job as a blogger, editor, and photographer and I can’t imagine being successful without utilizing social media’s power. I also use Facebook and Twitter regularly as a purely social tool. It’s fun to connect with friends at any time. I’ve never felt as social as I do right now. I love it.
I hear the question every once in a while, “Is Twitter or Facebook better, and where should I concentrate my energy?” I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to that question, but it’s certainly a question worth looking into.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of Twitter and Facebook.
- Easy to navigate
- Quick to learn
- You can post or link to just about anything
- Your reach is easily multiplied when you add in your follower’s networks
- Quick response
- Open – any user can follow any other user unless blocked
- Easy to share on the go
- 140-character limit can be…limiting
- Easily abused (spam abounds)
- Limited functionality (send tweets or DMs)
- It’s harder for many users to grasp how to make twitter work successfully for them
- Limited number of users
- Not private (even “private” DMs are frequently sent out to an entire twitter stream by mistake)
- Easy to miss updates because of the fast pace
- Content gets pushed down very quickly
- Extensive functionality (emails, updates, videos, pictures, fan pages, etc)
- It’s easy to grasp for most people
- Because users are connected to more “real friends” the interactions tend to be more personal
- Emphasis on deep connections versus the number of connections
- Easier to connect locally
- Private groups are an option
- No limit on amount you can share
- Facebook success requires more sustained and consistent effort and updating
- More difficult to navigate and update
- Your reach is often limited compared to twitter
- Tendency for users to not click out on shared links
- Difficult to search for past content
Another interesting point to consider is how effective shared links are on Facebook versus twitter, and what their expected “life span” is. According to a recent post on the bit.ly blog about how long people will pay attention and continue to click a shared link, their research indicates that Facebook only offers a small advantage.
The mean half life of a link on twitter is 2.8 hours, on facebook it’s 3.2 hours and via ‘direct’ sources (like email or IM clients) it’s 3.4 hours. So you can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on facebook than if you post on twitter.
In the end, neither Facebook nor Twitter is a “perfect” social media platform, but each has it’s place in our increasingly online-social world and together they are both very useful. For many smart-phone-toting, online-savvy people, it simply comes down to personal preference.
So my question is…Which do you prefer – Twitter of Facebook? Do you notice better results from links that you share on Facebook versus Twitter?
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