I’ve had an idea in my head for a post for almost two months. Essentially, I wanted to try to explain the difference between Twitter and Facebook in practical terms. Since the idea has sat in the hopper for so long, it has evolved a life of its own. I’ve seen new articles that both challenged and confirmed my thoughts, I have considered whether it is advantageous to be active in both Twitter and Facebook, I have written and rewritten my central premise. What I’ve decided to do is this. I’m going to break it up in to a multi-part post.
The central idea for all of these posts is that the Twitter platform lends itself to sharing content, while the Facebook platform lends itself to establishing relationships. Now I don’t mean to say that you can’t share content on Facebook (you absolutely can) or that you can’t establish relationships on Twitter (you absolutely can), I’m speaking more of the focus of the platform.
You can tell relationships come first in the Facebook platform. Everyone is a real person with a name. You only see the output of your friends. Your pictures end up in an album instead of fading away. This is all great for keeping up with your friends but it limits the rate at which something can spread through Facebook. The only real exception to this is Facebook pages, but even that is fading… When was the last time you saw a “I’ll bet I can get 1,000,000 people to like X” page come across your feed?
With Twitter on the other hand, it is not difficult at all to share content and to follow people who share content. Many of the people I follow are not friends at all. I will never have a picture with them. I’m certainly not a “fan” of them. They simply happen to have similar interests and do a good job of finding and tweeting about things that interest me. We would never be friends on the relationship-centric Facebook, but we follow each other on the content-centric Twitter.