Facebook and Twitter, From Another Perspective

Facebook and Twitter, From Another Perspective

A few weeks ago, I wrote a series of posts comparing Twitter and Facebook.  One of the responses I got, was from Jen.  She said, “[Facebook and Twitter] are totally different things. And I love them both.” And while we both love both platforms, the way Jen uses Twitter is completely different than me, so I asked her if she’d explain how Twitter and Facebook come together in her life.  I hope this will give my readers a different (and probably more typical) perspective on these two platforms.  Jennifer Phillips used to be obsessed with her blog, www.afabulousmess.com, but is now more obsessed with her Twitter, @AFMJen.

If you know me at all, you know Facebook is a reliable way to get in touch with me. Especially since I got a smartphone. I used to update my status message so many times in a day, people made fun of me. Any time I thought of something funny, I’d make it my status message. Any time something made me think, I’d make it my status message. Once, a friend didn’t have my new phone number and he commented on my Facebook and within minutes, I called him. Then he laughed at me because I responded within seconds to a wall post. People mocked me, they scoffed at me. And that’s when I started tweeting.

The differences between Facebook and Twitter are so subtle that I have a hard time putting them into words, but I feel so strongly that they are not the same thing that I can’t bring myself to link my Facebook status to my Twitter. I did this for about ten minutes then realized it just didn’t feel right.

It’s a bit ironic that my first thought was that Twitter is more private, which doesn’t really make any sense because everyone can see my Tweets and only my friends look at my Facebook. I love that Facebook allows me to actually accept a friendship. Facebook then celebrates a new friendship by telling everyone about it, as if it’s cheering you on for making a friend, then lets you know what friends you have in common just in case you want to be friends with them, too. And then it tells you most of your friends like Kanye West and it makes you question your friendships. And it sort of puts it all up in your face. “Hey!” it suggests. “This person shares ten friends with you, wanna ask them to accept you?” Twitter just sends a nice little email that lets you know someone new is following your tweets. It’s as if Twitter is letting you know, “Hey, just so you know, someone you may or may not know is interested in what you’re saying.” Twitter is less invasive, like the cool kid letting you know that people like you whereas Facebook is sort of the clingy acquaintance asking you to join a clique.

When I started tweeting more than I updated my Facebook status, Facebook sort of started to annoy me. Because I just didn’t care about most of the things it told me. I don’t care what American city you are, how much you’ve accomplished in Farmville, or what your horoscope is. I was also getting annoyed that I felt the need to be Facebook friends with everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life because, honestly, I don’t have 500+ friends and I don’t want 500+ friends. So, I deleted half of them and started tweeting a lot.

Facebook seems like it’s more aimed at maintaining old friendships. It’s a wonderful way to see what people you’ve long since lost touch with are up to. I’ve got to see baby pictures of my high school best friend’s two little girls, photos of my best friend from nursing school’s life in California, and wedding pictures of wedding receptions I’ve attended but honestly don’t remember all that much. I like when I have a big night out with my friends and someone uploads a bunch of pictures to Facebook because it’s sort of like an electronic scrapbook that we can all take part in captioning. I like playing Facebook games. A lot. Specifically Cafe World and Treasure Isle. And, once I got a grasp on the friend situation, Facebook became a lot more enjoyable for me.

But Twitter… well, nothing beats Twitter. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people. If you put in the appropriate hash tag or if someone is searching for something you’ve tweeted about, awesome things can happen. True friendships can come out of it. I like that I can quickly tweet something while stuck in rush hour and just by putting #pittsburghtraffic in my tweet, instantly I will get advice or sympathy from a bunch of fellow Pittsburghers whom I don’t know sharing in my complaining. Twitter is more instantaneous to me than Facebook. It’s somehow more accepted to tweet more than you can update your Facebook status. I don’t know why. Like I said, I can’t really put into words why I feel this major difference and why I need both in my life, but in my opinion, Twitter is to Facebook what Facebook was to MySpace. It’s huge, but it’s still not something that people who don’t love the internet feel like they really need. And everyone everyone will know that they need a Twitter.

I remember the day I deleted my MySpace and how I never thought that would ever happen. I was obsessed with my MySpace. Then I was obsessed with my Facebook. And now, I’m obsessed with my Twitter. But Twitter and Facebook differ in enough ways that I really feel I need them both. Twitter seems like a secret club to me because most of my friends don’t care about being connected enough to tweet. And the people I’ve met on Twitter are in the club, too, and they’re awesome. I love when I tweet something that I don’t realize is inappropriate and someone @’s me “That’s what she said”. I love that I met my boyfriend on Twitter by tweeting about Ayn Rand. I love that I can follow celebrities and comedians, and I love that Marc Broussard and I once had a minor exchange over politics.

Twitter and Facebook have a very symbiotic relationship, but they are entities in and of themselves, and they are both necessary in my life. Twitter is a real time interaction with the world, while Facebook seems more like a yearbook of the here and now. I’ve always had a deep love and respect for the Internet, and Twitter and Facebook seem to be what that love was building up to. I’d be lost without them both. If you love them as much as I do, I hope you know what I mean.

  • Ashley Cavell

    Well said, Jennifer! I’ve been trying to figure out the real difference between Facebook and Twitter and I think you hit the nail on the head that “Twitter is a real-time interaction with the world and Facebook seems more like a yearbook of the here and now.” Thank you for putting it into such clarity!