Iâ€™ve been asked by friends, relatives, co-workers, and even professors, â€œwhat is Twitter?â€ My reply usually begins with â€œYou know how on Facebook when you enter your statusâ€¦â€ and usually receive an eye roll or look of confusion from the person Iâ€™m speaking with. I spend the next ten minutes talking about sharing photos and information vs. sharing 140-character thoughts and still havenâ€™t seemed to convince anyone of the relativity of either site. Thankfully, Iâ€™m not the only one. Since the start of the year, the Facebook vs. Twitter argument has grown, and everyone is wondering whether the two can co-exist in the social networking world. So if youâ€™re sitting there wondering why you should have one or the other, continue readingâ€¦.
Being that Iâ€™ve been a Facebook user for almost five years now, itâ€™s hard to let go of everything itâ€™s given me. Photo sharing, connecting with old friends, endlessly updating my status, and using it as a procrastination tool when Iâ€™ve given up on term papers due the next morningâ€”all of these things are great memories of my social networking past (Iâ€™m not even going to mention Myspace). And up until recently, I had generally ignored its very-close-to-takeover rival known as Twitter. Since then my life has been ridden with a vocabulary of words beginning with â€œtwâ€ and an overuse of the â€œ@â€ symbol that I never thought Iâ€™d encounter again after giving up on e-mail. However, Facebook still holds a special place in my heart. So what do I do now?
There is no real telling who's going to win this battle. Each service is looking to enhance online communication, and they are succeeding amazingly with their approach. Facebook is capitalizing on its ability to (recently) attract every demographic to its site and find their entire graduating class from 20 years ago. They also have clout. Theyâ€™ve been serving college students and now anyone with an e-mail address for years, boasting themselves as the â€œmatureâ€ Myspace. Since the start, including just weeks ago, they have continued to update their layout to the dismay of most of their users (who ironically still use Facebook), and remain the most popular social networking site on the internet (Myspace is #2, Twitter #3).
Twitter allows people to post their thoughts, feelings, or experiences in a single status update of 140 characters or less (known as â€œmicrobloggingâ€), forcing them to cumulate all of their thoughts into one single sentence and revolutionizing the way we tell people about our lives. You can synch your Facebook up to receive your Twitter updates. You can update your Twitter with new blog posts. Theyâ€™ve also remained the same over the short time theyâ€™ve been online, with only minor changes and the introduction of SMS updating, which has only made the service more exciting. (They also turned down a $500 million buyout offer from Facebook!) And while many argue that Facebook has solved the problem by including a â€œWhat are you doing?â€ (now â€œWhatâ€™s on your mind?â€) stream of status updates on oneâ€™s profile, the two services continue to exist separately and hold common users who (like myself) arenâ€™t willing to choose between the two platforms.
Youâ€™re probably still wondering what you should do. Youâ€™ve probably received at least 10 tweets since you started reading this. Youâ€™ve probably also looked at your Facebook and thought about the idea of deletion. My advice? Keep them both. They are each exciting in their own right, and neither of them, at this point, is worth getting rid of. Until one of them finds a way to out-do the other, theyâ€™re going to be around for quite some time. So keep on tweeting your little hearts out and donâ€™t forget to accept your grandmotherâ€™s friend request so sheâ€™ll stop poking you.
Lastly, what do you all think? Are any of you strictly Facebook/strictly Twitter, or are you all straddling the line, too?