Twitter vs. FaceBook

While everyone talks about the power of FaceBook as a cool means of getting a message out, you hear very little about the power of Twitter as a communications tool.

I inadvertantly compared the two in recent months and found that Twitter was by far the more potent communications tool (in my unscientific test, at least).

What happened was, last November and December I changed the status on my Facebook profile to reflect the fact that I was looking for a job. My profile displayed that info for several weeks. In all that time I had one person approach me offering me some possible contract work. No more.

However, two or possibly three times since Christmas I have mentioned on Twitter that I am looking for a job and from that I have received 6-7 strong expressions of interest some of which are at the stage of swapping proposals.

The very first time Will Knott asked me why Twitter was so powerful was at the first Cork Open Coffee meeting back in March 07 and I remember telling him that the power of Twitter is in the network. Twitter continues to prove me right.

23 thoughts on “Twitter vs. FaceBook”

  1. Tom,

    You couldn’t be more right. I understand FB can be useful for communicating, but it’s so difficult to navigate, to my mind.

    Moreover, look at what we did on Twitter for Susan Reynolds (Frozen Peas) and for Ashley Spencer’s family. And that’s just in our circle on Twitter.

    It is indeed very powerful.

    Cheers,

    Dan Mosqueda

  2. Absolutely spot-on, Tom. I also find the Twitter crowd to be more active — and immediate — than my Facebook network.

    I’ll actually be hosting a social media breakfast in Boston next week, where we’ll be having four speakers giving brief presentations on this topic: “How Twitter Changed My Life — and Can Change Yours.”

    If you have a good network and you regularly give back to that network by participating in conversations they start, you’ll be rewarded.

  3. Tom, nice post. I’ve actually linked the two so that when I change my status in Facebook that shows up in Twitter. However, I don’t honestly find myself changing the status that much in Facebook anymore. Twitter makes it just incredibly easy to update… and that’s its huge advantage.

    I, too, have found Twitter to be incredibly useful. I posted about some of those reasons back in December: http://www.disruptiveconversations.com/2007/12/the-10-ways-i-l.html

    (And the fact that I am even here on your site speaks to Twitter’s value… I saw you mention this in a tweet!)

    Best wishes on the job hunt,
    Dan

  4. Same for me, Tom. I prefer Twitter as a communication tool vs Facebook. I find Facebook very dificult to find something o somebody inside. And when I’m back in FB I don’t remember where I have to go o what to attend… just kidding, but very close to the way I feel the FB interface…

    Twitter is so easy…

  5. Hi Tom,
    totally OK with you ; adding that Twitter is a really “kind engine”, more simple and direct stuff ; and we often in daily life, miss some opportunities to be “as we are”, that is simple citizens, sharing what we have, but no more, in simple ways. And Twitter is answering to that simple question : “as I do anything, at each moment, I can tell it to the entire world”, and THAT is magic !
    Best R.

  6. @Dan Mosqueda – absolutely, and the examples you give are far better than my own, thanks for adding that.

    @Bryan – true, the speed with which you receive responses on Twitter is tremendous

    @Dan York – thanks for the kind words. I remember reading your post back in December and being highly impressed with it, thanks again.

    @JuanLuis – The simplicity (as well as the immediacy) of Twitter is a huge part of its appeal.

  7. Tom,

    Add me to the list for agreeing with your post. I’ve always seen Facebook as a more passive tool for communicating with my friends and peers. Its less formal than LinkedIn and can still let me be me!

    I joined Twitter early last year just to see what it was all about, and I didn’t have any real intentions about using it as a serious networking tool. Almost a year later, its connected me with more people than I’ve met in the last five. The ability to use it for virtually “instant” feedback is amazing.

    Good luck with the job search!

    -Jeff

  8. Tom, this is really interesting – I still see Twitter as being more of a “micro social network” whereas FB is very much the macro. As a result there’s a lot more noise on FB which possibly makes it a poor medium for the test you’ve applied. Yes there are a huge number of followers (for you) on Twitter but perhaps your “micro network” in Twitter is more relevant in getting this feedback…Really interesting post.

  9. I agree. Illustration on networking. On Twitter today a colleague in Brisbane Australia asked about Web 2.0 conferences in Europe in mid-April, I emailed Krishna De, she replied with a link, I noticed her Twitter tag and am now following her and on her site she linked to a conference where you are a speaker, I thought, hmmm, top Irish blogger, eh? Why is he not in my RSS? Now you are. Twitter is the social web on speed.

  10. I find Twitter too fast for me (and I’m not old at all). I think it is more for teenagers than me, but I keep reading how important people think it is and i wonder… Is it really useful or it’s just another fame-thing that keeps Twitter working?

  11. Lets be honest both of them are for people with far too big egos. who care what you are doing, and what other people are doing. Its a sad excuse to actually picking up the phone or emailing them and asking them personaly how they are.

  12. I’m inclined to say that I totally disagree. Because, well, I do. I think that Facebook is a far better tool in every way. But then I see how many are leaning the opposite direction here and I have to wonder if it’s that I haven’t given Twitter much time.

    I’m a few years on Facebook, and think it’s great. I’m currently laid off, looking for work, and getting a lot of attention through Facebook. I find that it’s a greater resource because it’s so much more information. In fact, Twitter — as far as I can tell right now — is merely one tiny feature available on Facebook, but living out on its own.

    So I suppose I’ll hold judgement, or final judgement rather, until I’ve gotten a bit further into my Twitter time.

    However, I do agree with Norm. Both Facebook updates and Twitter are utterly narcissistic at their core.

  13. Twitter is brilliant in its simplicity. You can publish changes, listen for changes and show a list of your changes. There isn’t much else but it does publish/subscribe really well and it integrates with existing websites and mobile devices perfectly. Twitter fills a gap and the immediacy of the publish/subscribe paradigm allows lot of adhoc communities to emerge.

    Facebook is impressive in its feature acope and is grandeous it is approach to the web. For example, Facebook offers you FBML, FQL, FBJS, options to embed MP3s, … and on and on and on…

    Facebook is more of a web development platform/paradigm competing with huge amounts of existing web tools and paradigms.

    If I didn’t have a web site, I might get the OReilly Facebook cookbooks and see what is available from Facebook to build a new site. But I do have websites so in a few minutes I am able to plug in Twitter to give my visitors:
    1. a change log at my site (publish a list of my twitters on my home page)
    2. a chance to listen for alerts about changes at my site.

    Twitter is right for virtually all existing web sites. Facebooks may be right for some new web sites and is definitely right for some groups without websites.

  14. The only thing about your experiment was that, which site did you have more friends, which site did you have more security in who can see your post, it’s not a fair test until everything is exactly the same on both sites!

  15. Maybe I don’t get it.

    To me the “friend” relationship in facebook consumates what I would call “mutual following” (a two-way following relationship)

    In twitter, I may follow the most wonder tweeters in the world, but in the end analysis, when I “reply”, nobody but my followers see the reply, certainly not the author, nor their many followers.

    In facebook, if I friend the Dalai Lama, and I reply in a comment thread, I can and do invoke dialog, create connections and network with tens of thousands of “followers”.

    That dynamic is completely missing from twitter.

    Maybe I just don’t get it, but it seems to me facebook “friendship” buys a lot more than single-directioned twitter “following”

    Sergio

  16. Talk about long tail – and still twitchin’. So Tom, if you are still watching this, have your views on Twitter vis-a-vis Facebook changed fundamentally in the intervening years?

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