Is that one of those fundamental questions like–The Beatles or The Rolling Stones; chocolate or vanilla; Letterman or Leno; paper or plastic?
Last week, a friend of mine sent me an article published by Slate—“Who I Follow on Twitter and Why.” It was kind of a light-bulb moment. We seem to lump Twitter and Facebook into the same bucket, “You on Facebook and Twitter?” But they are really so radically different.
I love discussing this stuff, because we are right in the thick of such a pervasive transformation in communication. We have no concept how this moment in time we are living right now will impact our behavior, relationships, culture, and lives in the next few years–and for the rest of eternity.
Not that Twitter will stand the test of time or be around in the year 2100, but who knows what communication will look like then? Getting back to the here and now, I really do think there are “Twitter people” and “Facebook people.” I deal in both professionally–and more and more, Linked In. But they all render fiercely different experiences and visitor payoffs. As I was exploring this “Twitter person” concept, I found this Venn diagram from BoingBoing. It provides another way to slice and understand social-media behavior. I guess the increasing interest in Twitter is understandable–as sort of the nexus of it all.
I agree with erudite Shafer in Slate that Twitter is most valuable as a resource and a research tool. It’s like a custom real-time info stream that’s completely personalized. Connect with the great thinkers and follow the interesting things they say. Plus, you have the added benefit of commanding much higher quality attention from Google–from an SEO perspective. Hey, I smiled when I received a notification that Yoko Ono was following me on Twitter — even if it’s “her people.”
I read somewhere that Facebook is like playing in your fenced-in backyard. Twitter is like playing in the street. You are much more exposed, yet the asynchronous format is much more impersonal. Following is actually much less social than friending. Except for the way Mark Zuckerberg can mine our clicks and our navigation paths, I don’t buy the security complaints on Facebook. A user can manage access. You can protect everything you post with your settings dashboard. My son Elliot is a very good example. His profile is so well hidden, the way can see it is when he accidentally leaves it up on his computer. LOL. That’s security, huh?
As to Shafer’s being nonplussed about receiving a friend request from someone who ostensibly does not like you, consider Winston Churchill’s recommendation, “Keep your enemies close.”
Are you a Twitter person or a Facebook person? And why? Let me know . . .