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Twitter versus Facebook

March 18, 2009

This post is about the personal use of these tools, not about the brand use. But yesterday, I experienced the power of Facebook‘s new conversational abilities. But I should backtrack.

In my opinion, Facebook is a place where your friends come, whereas Twitter is a place to meet people. If this was the real world, and you were at a party, Facebook is the kitchen — where all the people you know gather to talk about inane things. People don’t stay in the kitchen unless they have something to add to the conversation.  Twitter is the front porch, where you simply get people on there, who aren’t there to talk, but just to sit and listen.

This point really struck me yesterday. On Twitter, I asked a work question and got no responses. On Facebook, I asked a completely inane question and got a lot of responses from people from all different walks of life.

Now, before you think this is a post that suggests Twitter isn’t a useful tool, I did ask a work-like question on a brand Twitter feed, and got all sorts of responses. But on a personal level, the new Facebook enables conversations in an easier way. And it’s easier than Twitter.

And, more importantly, the kind of friends on Facebook differ drastically from the followers on Twitter. Fact is, I can’t follow all the people I follow on Twitter, so I could never have the kind of conversations I can have on Facebook. To go back to the metaphor, I’m at a different party than almost all of the people I follow in Twitter.

So, this does have me thinking about my own personal use of Twitter. It’s a good listening tool, but is it really a good conversation tool? i can count on one hand the good conversations I’ve had on Twitter. Whereas, in just  few weeks, I’ve had fun conversations  on Facebook.

Admittedly, the conversation on Facebook meme could end soon. This could simply be an indication of a new toy that I play with for a bit, but then ignore because inane conversations aren’t billable — or useful.

Anyway, Alan Wolk has been talking about this. See here, or for a lot of posts about it, here.

My final take is this: I’m an early adopter, and try these tools before i really know how I’ll use them. I agree with Alan that I use Twitter more for work, and Facebook more for fun, but lately, I can see work clawing it’s way into Facebook.

And this doesn’t even take into consideration LinkedIn‘s new ability to comment on status.

LinkedIn StatusAll these things are circling Twitter. And when, on one day, two people will 50,000 followers both follow me, I wonder about the point of Twitter moving forward. Really, there’s no chance that I’ll engage with them in a meaningful conversation.

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