Facebook and Twitter (“FaT”) are not just methods of communication and exchange. [Just as a car not just a box with wheels that converts dead pressed ferns into kinetic energy and carbon emissions.]
They are- like cars- vehicles of display; we display ourselves and seek affirmation and validation through these technologies.
In FaT you accumulate popularity points. “Friends” and “followers.” Friends are easier to come by- asking someone to follow you seems a bit more like wheedling and neediness. Maybe this will change if Twitter starts a “push” technology of suggesting followers of followers (the maths would perhaps be tricky, but there are smart people out there who’ll try to monetize this).
And inevitably there are “bandwidth bandits”- namely those users who break the “untyped” rules of etiquette, and over-send. These are either de-friended or unfollowed (“fallowed”, perhaps?)
In both there is a semi-visible gardener tending the “weeds”. Facebook has a spam filter that over-reacts on occasion and threatens to bar users for sending similar messagers out. Twitter disables accounts that seem suspicious- weird names that are strings of letters probably generated by robots/spiders/whatever-Wired-is-calling-this-stuff-these-days.
Twitter, I think, will be more useful for finding out new things, and making links that could get you a new job, a new way of seeing the world or whatever. And this is perhaps an example of the famous “Strength of Weak Ties”- most of the people you know (Friends) are exposed to the same info as you, on the same wavelength or whatever. But your “followers” tend to be random people you never met. And they tend to have little snippets and titbits and jobleads and all the rest of it.
(I’d recommend Philip Ball’s “Critical Mass” for more on weak ties and social networks etc)
Facebook has the edge at the moment for advertising events, certainly in Manchester. That’s simply Metcalfe’s law– there are gazillions of facebookers, but fewer than a thousand Manchester twitterers. This will change, of course.
The limits of twitter- the 140 character limit demands the ability to compress your thoughts, and to use tinyurls, which are functional but aesthetically dubious. Some people are unable/unwilling to compress, and will witter rather than twitter: They will either vote with their thumbs and not use it or else send tweets spread over multiple messages, which is Bad Form Old Chap…
Twitter is “newer” in popularity, and so has a geek/early adopter cache.
Other people’s posts on Facebook v. Twitter
by Guest Poster on January 13, 2009
“The usefulness of Twitter is not readily as obvious to some people as Facebook; although it may be more addictive once you get the hang of Tweeting; you get more immediate responses and it seems to live somewhere between the worlds of email, instant messaging and blogging. Twitter encourages constant “linking out” to anywhere and, in that respect, is more analogous to a pure search engine; another way to find people and content all over the Net.
“Twitter has quickly built brand awareness and a loyal following, especially among the technically adept; bloggers, online marketers, evangelists, basically anyone with something to promote seem to find Twitter extremely valuable.”
by Guest Poster on December 20, 2008
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Twitter addict. I use Twitter daily; however, my uses aren’t to update friends. My sole purpose for using Twitter is to find others within my niche. I use it as a listening tool. I get a real-time pulse of the Tech sector, politics and any news via Twitter.
Facebook’s main purpose centers on furthering and cultivating relationships with already established friends
Twitter’s main purpose centers on social networking (meeting people across the world with similar interests)”
Good post from all the way back in July 2008!
This from the fiends at readwriteweb
“Twitter May Have Found its Business Model”