Facebook vs Twitter, a rivalry between two names that instigate mixed impressions, sentiments, and notions in almost each online user. Others offer larger-than-life loyalty and passion to Facebook, Twitter, or both, while some pull nothing more than pastime activities from these social networking services. Regardless of our level of participation, we cannot refuse to accept that these massively popular sites draw the most traffic and have two of the largest online user bases today.
In July 2010, many websites/blogs reported that basketball sensation LeBron James created an official Twitter account merely days before “The Decision”, his announcement on free agency and team destination. LBJ attracted over 150,000 followers in just 7 hours after his Twitter account went live.
Facebook also had a similar experience when Lady Gaga became the first user to reach 10 million fans on her page.
As Facebook and Twitter gradually consumed most of the internet’s traffic, websites and blogs took notice and exploited them to expand their reach. Up to now, some sites use Twitter but not Facebook and vice versa, some use both Facebook and Twitter, whereas others use neither.
Now Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than 900 million users as of May 2012, more than half of them using Facebook on a mobile device; and we have 500 million active Twitter users as of this year, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.
Truly, popularity provides adequate ground for reaching out to patrons. However, as we grow more accustomed to using Facebook nowadays, is there still a seat for Twitter at the table? Surpass Facebook perhaps?
The Social Barrel team discussed and scrambled with the issue as questions built up in our thoughts about websites, blogs, and social networking.
- Should a website/blog choose Facebook over Twitter due to its larger user base?
- Is Twitter more preferable for sharing articles due to its text-based nature? Note: Social Barrel focuses on providing reviews and the latest social and tech news.
- What are their major differences, if any?
- Is there a simpler method to do both?
- Does one service have greater value or return of investment (ROI)?
Facebook vs Twitter – The Rivalry
To minimize, as much as possible, the bafflement of Facebook vs Twitter, we will put it into a different perspective.
Do you remember the time when people began referring to the World Wide Web (WWW) as the internet? While these two terms were different entities, people started to use them interchangeably with rising confidence.
A similar thing happened with Facebook and Twitter as social networks. Alas, mainstream media blew this out of proportion when it somehow painted a picture that Facebook and Twitter are the same, which strictly is not true.
Before we make up our mind on how to use them in our website/s (or you in your website/blog), we first need to know the function of these two online tools. So far, we know that they offer social networking services in some form.
Facebook vs Twitter – The Differences
Facebook, as a social network, is suppler and more competent in various aspects than Twitter. You can upload content, such as photos, games, videos, and apps to your heart’s contentment; post calendar events; embed online videos; and more.
At first sight, Twitter only allows text, more text and links, which means even more text. Moreover, Twitter is a micro-blogging service whereas Facebook is a full-blown social network that has many facets, which include a micro-blogging feature.
The main difference between Facebook and Twitter is evident in this degree of versatility, but the demarcation line among these online tools is far too complex in reality.
Several years ago, setting a distinction between both projects in an article would be an easier task. Twitter, back then, did not offer buttons to share content on almost all websites, and Facebook had not reached superstar status either, with most of its users still uncertain whether creating a page or group is a good idea.
Now, on the other hand, the differentiation is rather vague as both social networks try to add features found on the other. Facebook is becoming more active, offering services such as Facebook Mobile, Timeline, Ads, among others.
Twitter, on the contrary, is attempting to add more features to make it more versatile. For instance, you now are capable of linking your account to other social networks, such as LinkedIn and Google+. On Twitter, an application called Twitpic gives you the ability to share images while TweetDeck streamlines your tweets.
Although both companies have added eye candies and new features, we should also look at each service as entirely contrasting entities through a comparison with other popular social networks today.
Facebook and Twitter are established social networking sites/tools. Arguments tagged along by comparisons between Facebook and Twitter, and the Facebook vs Twitter articles, likely comes from the fact that these are two of the largest and recognizable social networking tools on the internet.
Google+ and LinkedIn have surfaced as the closest rivals of Facebook, while Tumblr is probably the closest micro-blogging service to Twitter today.
Another major difference between Facebook and Twitter arises in their communication methods. Initially, Facebook, according to Jeff Glasson in an early 2008 blog post on Social Media Today, is meant to be a passive service. In direct contrast, Twitter appears to be a little more active due to its more conversational nature and text-based environment.
Facebook vs Twitter – Privacy Issues
We could compare Twitter to a massive party event where you do not known anyone but aims to make friends with most, if not all, of them. Facebook, on the other hand, would be a reception attended mostly by family and friends.
When looking at both, a common issue that immediately comes to mind is privacy. Privacy seems to have superior power and influence to users of Facebook, whereas Twitter users take kindly to adopt the feeling that all their tweets are public unless specified as private.
Facebook gives you friends; Twitter gives you followers.
With Facebook, you first need approval to interact with a user not found on your Friends list. Twitter does not require the same type of approval by default. Most Twitter users still do not know that they can actually set their accounts to private so that only a select few are allowed to follow their tweets.
However, that viewpoint centers on how users interact with each other. Usage of personal data within the company and its clients is another story.
In terms of personal information, a May 2012 CNBC poll found that “59 percent of respondents said that they had little to no trust in Facebook to keep their information private.” Eventually, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission stepped in to stop Facebook, albeit too late.
The stark difference between the two companies’ approaches on privacy does not fare well for Facebook.
In May 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a column in the Washington Post addressing complaints about his site’s privacy settings. He declared they would be responding with new, simpler settings in order to give users more control of their information.
To be continued…
Check part two of our Facebook vs Twitter review, entitled Facebook vs Twitter – The Positives, Monetization, Promotion, Visibility, Verdict, after the break.
Update: Added info on Mark Zuckerberg’s Washington Post column and the reaction of bloggers.