I’ve discovered something about what I would consider to be the two most popular social networks, Facebook and Twitter. People tend to be a fan of one, or the other. Rarely both. Some of my best friends are on Facebook, and have no desire whatsoever to use Twitter. Everything they post is on Facebook, and if you want to connect with them, then that’s where you have to do it.
I’m quite the opposite. I recently deactivated my Facebook account again because it annoys me. I personally think the biggest reason people “connect” on Facebook is to check out pictures, and see who your friends are. That’s it. I don’t have much of a use for that. I think my favourite description of the difference between the two networks is this:
“Facebook is for people you know, but don’t want to know anymore. Twitter is for people you don’t know, but want to know.”
Before I deactivated my Facebook account, I looked at my “friends” there. Some of them are friends from school. Some are family. Some are friends I’ve met over the years. Sometimes I would receive a periodic request from someone who I barely spoke to in highschool, simply because they showed up as a “You might know this person…” as a friend of a friend. I rarely authorized those people. What was the point? We really had nothing in common then… has that changed at all?
On the other hand, I find Twitter to be a fascinating place to find people to converse with! Everyone has something to say, and you can easily tap into these mini-social networks by contributing to the conversation. When I look at the people I follow on Twitter, the number of people I have nevermet in real life exceeds the number of people I know in person. And many of these are people who I regularly converse with. It might be sharing some technical information, a laugh, a cry, or just about anything. There are interesting local people who I might unknowingly pass by in the mall, and not even realize that it was them. There are interesting people as far away as Australia, who I will probably never meet, yet enjoy chatting with late at night. There’s a CEO of a tech startup, a business mentor, a web designer, a business owner… the list goes on. These are all people who I think if I ever met in real life, that I’d love to sit down and share a drink with…
I don’t get that same feeling from Facebook.
Yeah, it’s nice to be able to go and look at peoples photos, but that wears off real quick. It’s voyeuristic, and not usually meaningful. I could just as easily receive them in an email link, or on Flickr or some other photo sharing site.
I know that many of you will disagree with me. You will say that I don’t “get” Facebook. You will say that you don’t see the point of limiting your conversations to 140 character tweets. I understand that. To each, their own. But I still maintain my position… Facebook is the dominant social network, but it’s not the right one. Certainly not for me.
Time to get my tweet on!