Friday, December 31, 2010

Choosing Sides: Facebook Versus Twitter

Twitter logo initialYou’ve heard it:

Twitter is the new facebook.

Facebook is moving in on twitter’s turf.

Everyone is vying for their share of our attention using social media, and why not? According to a recent Nielsen study, in the United States we spend 906 million hours a month on social networks. And social networks are attracting more of our online time – Nielsen reports a 43% increase year to year (June 2009 to June 2010).

So there’s a war between facebook and twitter and one of them must win, right?

Not so fast…

What these tools have in common is that they are both classified as social media. Beyond that, almost everything else is different, and both large and small businesses would do well to recognize those differences.

Facebook is the place to grow and nurture communities. It gives you the ability to know who is interested in your products and services (because they have opted in) and allows you to target that community. You can share detailed multi-media information and have discussions – with responses appearing right under the original update, making this a great conversational tool.

Twitter is all about messaging. Messages go to your followers, but are easily accessible by everyone. Twitter is a goldmine of information and there is no need to ever send a tweet to leverage the data in twitter. Small and large businesses alike can benefit from “listening” to what their customers are saying about them on twitter. While tweets are limited to 140 characters, it’s a fallacy to believe that twitter contains only short messages. Twitter is used by many as a teaser, to drive the reader (via link) to a longer message, blog, article, or website.

Twitter and Facebook are both good at what they do. Twitter is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve – noisy and open to all. Facebook is more like a party invitation with an RSVP. Where would you rather go?

11 comments:

Anon_e_mouse said...

How about neither? For professional networking I stick with LinkedIn; I don't have time to waste on Facebook (nor would I care to deal with their seemingly continual privacy issues) and Twitter strikes me as nothing short of annoying.

Colette said...

Anon_e_mouse, I do like Linked In for professional networking. I see twitter and facebook being used more for marketing (small business, etc.) Privacy is definitely an issue. Twitter grows on you!

Carol Kilgore said...

The only social networking I do now is Blogger. But my web guru is working to help me set up a facebook page that will coordinate with my website and blog. At some point I'll need to tweet, too, but not yet.

Happy New Year!

Colette said...

Carol, like you, I love blogging! I think you'll find facebook and twitter interesting as you use them more.

Liz Fichera said...

Twitter is a lot like being at a crowded party--a lot of people talking but no one really listening. Occasionally I have found good bits of info on Twitter. Facebook is better for taking an idea and expanding on it. I try to limit my time on both.

Happy New Year!

Dave E said...

I used to be an avid twitterer when it first got going but now I rarely bother, just to much effort and time required to keep reading posts all the time (even just from the few people that I follow) in the hope of catching that interesting titbit.
But businesses seem to think it's important so if you want to get their attention (because customer service usually isn't) just mention then in the negative and see what happens!

I use face book to keep in touch with a family members and a few friends, that's it. Useful without being to time consuming, at least so long as you avoid farmville (I have!).

One Womans Eye said...

I don't think it's an either or. Each is a different experience, sort of like trying to decide if you want to order in Chinese or Italian.

Colette said...

Joanne and Liz -- I agree -- they both have their unique benefits.

Dave E - you make a good point about businesses using it -- what's really interesting is when a com[any isn't paying attention to what you are saying -- they are missing valuable information.

Joanne said...

Right now, I'm only a blogger. But sooner or later I'll take the plunge, and am leaning toward starting with Twitter. It seems like a great tool for reaching out into the community.

I clicked over from Carol's blog, enjoyed browsing here ...

Colette said...

Joanne, welcome! Try loitering on twitter for a while -- just get an id and follow a few people. Pretty soon you'll want to jump in!

Padmini said...

I love both Twitter and Facebook - Facebook, a little more because of the social networking opportunities it provides. Now that I am retired, I use the Facebook to keep in touch with my friends, e-coworkers and family across the globe! Isn't it great to see what your cousin in India or Germany has been up to without intruding? Twitter has its own uses for a retiree like me - for example, I have found great airfares through twitter!