Facebook vs. Twitter: For some it is a cats vs. dogs kind of debate. Others say Facebook and Twitter have different functions and are best utilized in tandem. According to the statistics, Facebook.com cites over 500 million active users worldwide, while according to Computerworld.com, Twitter trails with just 75 million users. Beyond user rates, frequency of usage likewise boasts Facebook with a 50% usage on any given day while Twitter, though quickly growing, shows that only 17% of users tweeted during last month.
Despite Facebook’s dominant numbers, these sites remain the top two social networking sites and thus rivals to some degree. In fact, many users who have chosen one or the other agree vehemently that their site is indeed best. NWC Junior and Facebook user Heather Craven agrees, saying she feels Twitter is “basically a giant con.” She says, “From the general impression I get of Twitter, I think it’s a silly way to tell people the random crap you’re doing (or not doing) more times than they care to know.”
Others like Junior Andrew Stam have both and say that they offer very different services. Where Facebook has a more traditional profile and inbox based layout, Twitter operates more like a texting service. While Facebook has a live chat option, the main communication is in a post and then-wait-for-a-response fashion. Twitter still provides a static profile page but focuses primarily on a conversation and constant flow of updates.
Though Stam says he got Twitter initially for the same reason many join Facebook, to “keep tabs on far-away friends,” Stam says he also enjoys using it to follow his favorite celebrities and tap into their daily lives. But when it comes to content he says, “Things I post on Facebook are things I don’t care who reads. Things I post to Twitter, I only want my select friends and followers to read.” Though he uses both equally and simultaneously on his computer, he receives closest friend’s tweets on his phone.
Twitter may seem friendlier to mobile users, but sophomore Jeremy Bork, a Facebook user, says he accesses Facebook on computer and via Facebook mobile on his phone equally. Because of the easy access options, Bork says he typically checks his profile 3-5 times a day. For Bork, Facebook is a nice study break because it “keeps my attention,” and it is nice to keep in touch with friends.
Fellow sophomore Eli Groenendyk agrees. “Facebook is a handy tool to contact all my friends for organizing a praise team, setting up a fantasy football league and other things.” For him it is “enjoyable and convenient,” but he also fears it has been overused and abused.
While there are many positive factors to any social network whether Facebook, Twitter, or others, an accompanying negative is one that Groenendyk states clearly, “Actual face-to-face time may be suffering because of face-to-Facebook time.”