Key Elements of Facebook and Twitter
Facebook appeals to people looking to reconnect with old friends and family members or find new friends online; the mashup of features like email, instant messaging, image and video sharing, etc. feels familiar, while Twitter is a bit harder to get your arms around at first.
Most people can very quickly grasp how to use Facebook to connect to friends and family, using it to share thoughts, images, etc. Like MySpace but more geared to adults than teens, Facebook is a social networking Portal; beckoning you not to leave but rather to stick around and communicate within the network.
Twitter on the other hand, encourages you grab ideals in byte-size chunks and use your updates as jumping off points to other places or just let others know what you’re up to at any given moment.
Why People Love Facebook
Facebook appeals to social animals and can be very addicting to people who have an insatiable appetite to stay connected with friends and make new acquaintances. In fact, some people report they rarely use email or IM tools anymore in their online social communications anymore, relying almost entirely on Facebook for email, chat, image and video sharing.
Facebook addicts prefer the social portal model versus having to log into AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Gmail, Hotmail, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, etc. Instead, Facebook gives them a single alternative to all these applications, with one login and interface to manage their online social interaction needs. This largely explains the explosive growth Facebook continues to experience and why the company reportedly invested $200 million in data center upgrades last year to keep up with demand!
Why People Love Twitter
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.
When asked why they love Twitter, users say like “I can ask a question and get an instantaneous response”. They crave the ability to “tap into the collective consciousness” of others on the network, bouncing ideas off others with whom they would otherwise have no means of connecting. Twitter addicts claim it’s like the old fashioned water cooler, where people can gather to shoot the breeze on whatever topic is on their minds. Twitter is like a communications stream you dive into for an invigorating swim.
Different Communication Styles for Different Social Settings
Let’s say you go to a wedding or other social gathering where lots of people know each other. The style and tone of communication there will be more like using Facebook; you chat with old friends and acquaintances, mixing and mingling in an intimate manner. In this setting, people tend to feel more relaxed and “in their element”. Conversations are familiar and center on shared experiences and connections.
Now, when you go to a large party or social event where you don’t know most of the people in attendance, you will use a very different style of communication, more like Twitter; you want to meet people and somehow make yourself known, stand out from the crowd, make an impression, self promote and make new connections. Twitter is like getting the podium and not everyone feels comfortable or knows how to stand comfortably in the spotlight.
In fact, almost all of us, when first approaching Twitter, tend to use it to post useless updates like “Going to lunch”, thinking of it as a another tool to communicate with friends, when in fact, it is more like stepping on to a stage, where you are communicating with an audience and quickly find that you need to find a voice and say something useful and interesting or quickly lose the attention of your audience. People refer to Twitter as a mini or micro blogging platform.
Facebook is still at the forefront of social media and Twitter proves to be a boon in the marketing efforts of small businesses in spite of the fact that you have to compress what you’d like to say into 140 characters.
But there’s still the question, “Which of the two social media sites are better?”
Both have advantages over the other but there are disadvantages to each as well:
- It’s FREE.
- Customer Acquisition. There are 500 million active users on Facebook so you’re sure to find plenty of potential customers.
- Female Baby Boomers are There. It’s no secret that women aged 55 and over are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook. And it’s also no secret that women between ages 55 and 64 are now the biggest spenders.
- Facebook “Likes.” Utilizing the Facebook “Like” button can improve your SEO value.
- Facebook Fan Pages. A Facebook Fan Page with your business name in the title can boost your search engine rank. Give that a push by posting backlinks to your site and watch your SEO improve greatly over time.
- Viral Capability. Sharing information that can easily go viral with a lot of people is easy. Do it in one click as opposed to the time involved in creating and sending individual messages.
- Contests Are A Hit. Facebook and contests just seem to go together. Word spreads quickly and participation tends to be much higher than it would be if the contest were run strictly from your blog or website.
- Leverage And Build Your Brand. Interacting with people through pages, groups, events, Facebook Places and even community pages gives you more visibility and helps you carve out an image that builds trust and transmits that you’re an authority.
- Search locally. The search feature allows businesses to connect to potential customers that are within their area and close to home.
- Facebook doesn’t necessarily believe in privacy. It’s no secret that Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, doesn’t value your privacy as much as you do. In addition, two of the biggest data collection giants have taken to battling it out. Facebook recently admitted to hiring a PR Firm to badmouth Google and Google struck back by outing Facebook for requiring users to share data on a service that won’t let you get data out. In a nutshell, these two giants are fighting tooth and nail for tracking capabilities and your private data.
- Applications require a lot of information. Information that you may normally not want to divulge. Facebook has announced its plans to allow third-party applications to request your telephone number and address.
- Be very careful of what you share. We’ve all heard about the teacher who posted some photos of herself on vacation enjoying a glass of wine and visiting the Guinness Brewery in Europe – and lost her job because of it, right? And don’t think that privacy settings will save you here. Her profile and pictures were private and she didn’t accept students or strangers as friends and still lost her job.
- There isn’t any guidance for beginners. Learning how to use Facebook isn’t easy as they provide no real guidance for new members. You’ll do better Googling the term “how to use Facebook.”
- People spy. Curiosity is human nature. Your friends, business associates, exes, and family members may be able to snoop around and know what is happening in your life at all times.
- Newsfeeds are generated from every single activity. Nothing is really private on Facebook. You will get unwanted newsfeeds generated from every single activity that your friends and business associates perform. In turn, they too will be notified about every single activity that you perform as well.
- People can tag you in photos. This can include photos that you may not want everyone to see. A bad hair day, an unflattering photo, a compromising situation. You can easily remove the tag, but it may be too late, others may have already viewed the image.
- There’s a fine line. Because Facebook can be a mixture of both friends and business associates, always remember that there’s a fine line between marketing and offending. If you’re marketing to your family and friends daily, eventually they may take offense. And if you’re posting about a wild weekend you just had with friends, you may offend business associates and hurt your reputation. Walk the line carefully.
- Deleting a Facebook Group isn’t easy. If you’ve created one and you decide to delete it, this will require you to manually delete each member of the group. In addition, a second click is required to “confirm” your deletion. So if you have a group with 700 members, be prepared to make some 1,400 clicks to delete all members. In otherwords, it will require you to set aside a couple of hours just to close your Facebook group. And if you have any unanswered invites, you won’t be able to delete the group until the individual has answered the invite in some manner. If the individual doesn’t respond, you’re out of luck.
- You can only share information with friends. In order to market your business, you have to make “Friends” to market it to first.
- You have little to no control regarding what other people post. If your best friend Suzy posts on your wall, “What a great party that was! I found your shoes in the bushes outside my front porch.” You can delete the post, but only after many other people have already seen it.
- Spammers abound. Some of these individuals may not realize that they’re spamming and may come onto your profile and begin posting links to their sites, blog posts, etc. and the only thing you can do is manually delete it.
- It’s FREE.
- Breaking news tends to appear on Twitter first. Take, for example, the news about Osama bin Laden. The news first broke on Twitter by a neighbor of the Bin Laden complex. A record was also set . . . at one point, there were approximately 3,440 Tweets per second about the episode.
- Your content can be seen by more people. When you tweet, a friend of a friend can click thru and see you and your tweets.
- Twitter is a great tool for opinion polling. You want to be aware of what people want and need and how your business can cater to them.
- Twitter outperforms RSS feeds. Not all your customers’ may sign up for RSS feeds from your site. But on Twitter, there are instant news deliveries, which keep your customers updated with all your products, services and any changes you may make.
- Twitter can be automated. You can schedule your Tweets in advance using third-party services like HootSuite. Doing this allows you to keep an active Twitter presence with less effort and less time spent.
- You can present and participate in group chats. Using the hashtag feature, special events and large group chats can take place in real-time.
- Unique profile templates can be used. You can brand yourself and your business by customizing your Twitter template, which can be created via HTML mode or purchased via a third-party design service such as Social Identities.
- Your Tweets can get buried real fast. Since users receive real-time updates, your tweets may get buried behind others’ quite fast and people generally do not have the time to browse over old (in this case, anything beyond 5 minutes) tweets.
- Some Tweet about themselves too often. You will come across those who regularly Tweet about themselves, their business, what they had for breakfast . . . you get the idea. And Tweeting too often to promote your own site and business may be indicators to some people that you are a spammer.
- You have to speak concisely. You must compress what you want to say in 140 characters or less.
- Spammers abound. Because it’s easy to spam people on Twitter, you may see an abundance of it and you’ll need to manually filter your own lists to get rid of them.
- It can become addictive. It’s tempting to engage in non-business related conversations or get caught up browsing interesting links from Tweets by those you follow.
So what is your own take?? Is Facebook better than Twitter or vice versa??