In a world where you’re either an iPhone or an Android, a Beatle or a Rolling Stone, a breast or a thigh (*ahem*), it’s increasingly important to pick your side… and fast. As such, we’ve asked some of the Outside Line team which side they take in the ultimate social media showdown: Twitter vs Facebook?
Our bank of desks in the Outside Line office is known for its heated debates (and chocolate). One of the more interesting questions raised recently was along the lines of “if you could only ever visit one website again, which site would it be?”
My first thought was Facebook. Obviously. In this day and age you can’t survive without knowing exactly what that guy who used to sit next to you in biology class had for breakfast, can you? But then when it came down to the (proverbial) wire and I was about to (hypothetically) choose Facebook and banish Twitter from my life forever, I (realistically) just couldn’t do it.
So what does that mean? I was being sneaky and trying to circumvent the ‘one website only’ rule by choosing an interface rife with links? Well, yes, but that was soon vetoed. Rather, for me Twitter has become one of the main ways that I stay up to date with what other people, like me, think is worth knowing.
I like seeing someone’s opinion on a breaking news story and then clicking through to formulate my own. I feel better knowing that other people also believe that something as trivial as a good cup of tea makes their day and is worth a tweet. I revel in being able to find a corny joke whenever I need one. And most of all, I love that my mom is not on Twitter.
After all, if you have to tell me about your breakfast, at least it’ll only bore me for 140 characters or less.
Round 1… goes to Twitter
Chris Welton, Social Media
It’s a doozy of a question.
From a purely selfish point of view, without Twitter I may not be in the job I’m in right now (thanks again for the recommendation @EddHannay). But without Facebook my role probably wouldn’t exist!
While that leaves no real clear ‘winner’, I’m genuinely convinced Twitter has improved my knowledge, expanded my profile socially and professionally, while also acting as one of my key sources for news and information.
Plus, did you hear Biz Stone’s recent interview with Howard Stern? What a genuinely friendly, honest and clever man…
Round 2… close but think Twitter has it
Nicola Lentin, Accounts
I’ve been a Facebook fan for a number of years and it’s a brilliant innovation (if only I had thought of it!) Recently, however, it has suffered a fall from grace, having, inadvertently, garnered a public image usually reserved for soap operas – lots of viewers and long time fans but few who would be proud to admit it. Despite this, it is, undoubtedly, one of the most useful tools of the modern age; not only does it enable us to stay in touch with friends on the other side of the planet, but we can share (or enviously stalk through) holiday photos, keep note of birthdays, stay up to date with the latest events and of course, parade your latest ’relationship status’ with the world, all with a minimal amount of effort.
All that said, over the last year I have been converted into a Twitterite. I love it. The great thing about Twitter is the lightning quick pace and the amount of information you can consume in a short amount of time; you can find out what’s going on in your favourite blogs, catch up with the latest news and (how could we forget?!) follow the trials and tribulations of your favourite (or least favourite) celebrities, all without spending your lunch hour at your desk. I think Twitter has also brought down a lot of barriers; bringing together different internet communities and allowing people to connect with others that would have, previously, been out of reach.
So with all that said, I can conclude that you will mainly find me tweeting (@nicola_lentin) tonight as the new Apprentice is aired!
Round 3… too close to call
Mike Mackay, Development
For me, it’s all about Twitter.
While Facebook is where the majority of users are, I prefer the minimal intrusion that Twitter offers. Facebook has become increasingly commercialised – while things are starting to move in that direction with Twitter too, you can’t go anywhere on Facebook without being targetted – unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), it does, however, yield the results companies and individuals are looking for. Twitter, for me, is also more about convenience – there are a plethora of apps that enable me to interact with the platform however I choose.
…and the best bit? Not a single Farmville request in sight.
Round 4… another one for Twitter.
So it looks like an, almost, unanimous victory for Twitter.
We prefer the unrestricted, individualistic nature of Twitter as opposed to Facebook’s rigid, overly commercialised regime. However, as Mike states, Facebook does achieve results and still has the bigger user base (almost five times that of Twitter). Is it that we actually prefer Twitter and find it more useful or is it, as Nicola suggests, that Facebook has more of a PR problem?
The big problem is that the question we posed is flawed (sorry guys!); it’s not the same as being a PC or a Mac, it’s not a decision you have to, or indeed should, make… you can be both Twitter and Facebook. They serve different purposes, particularly in terms of their role in advertising. Just as print and TV ads are effective in different ways, Twitter and Facebook reach different audiences, provide a different experience and engage with consumers differently. So, whether you’re a Zuckerbergite or a Biz Stoner, we all need to get on board with both and understand the real benefits of each.