Saturday, March 14, 2009

FB vs Twitter

I haven't seen the new Facebook layout yet. It doesn't show up on the BlackBerry so I'll probably wait and see it Monday on the big screen.

If it's as bad as they say, it may cement my incipient suspicion that I'm more of a Twitter gal than a Facebook gal.

Don't get me wrong - I'm as addicted as the next person - but I noticed a long time ago, I don't use FB the way most of my friends do.

As my buddy Ian and I discussed over the Christmas Eve dinner table - we don't play Scrabulous; we don't send each other electronic cups of coffee; we don't tend your virtual garden; and if you send us a seahorse to put back in the ocean, it'll just die. Ian and I don't have any pieces of Flair. Whenever I get a L'il Green Patch request, my response is that I gave at the Office. And I really did. (Even if I did get flamed on Facebook the other night for blowing the tops off mountains because I subsidized KU by turning on the air conditioning. I remain certain that I do more than average to keep the tops of mountains intact.) My new old friends @AliThinks and @AllanThinks suggested by Facebook standards, it meant I'd "arrived." I felt a little better, but in truth, it always hurts my feelings a little when someone hates me. For days, I found myself defensively explaining to everyone I could get stopped just how eco-friendly I am.

But blood feuds and enemy-making aside, I really just use Facebook to look in on my friends -- see what they're doing, and let them know what I'm up to.

That is, in essence, Twitter. Without all the flair. Without the Scrabulous. Without the Big Blue Waves that I don't know how to catch, much less pass on.I wish there was a little bit more of the FB style profiling info on Twitter -- but name, politics, religion, and marital status all become fairly quickly apparent anyway.

It isn't, as Brian Williams suggested to Jon Stewart, about always having an interesting answer to the question "what are you doing right now?" As with real-life civilized discourse, it's perfectly permissible to sit quietly and shut up.

While I was very late to the facebook party (and was dragged there kicking and screaming by my pals Elle and Kimmy- and I love them for it), I was actually a fairly early adopter of Twitter. By Local standards. (I was on there way after my friends @AustinChronicle, for example, but way before the local Daily Paper).

I kept reading about it in the Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) and thought "this is just crazy enough to work."

Granted, I was slow to catch on.I thought it was more like a Radio you broadcast on, when it's actually more like a CB where you have conversations (to go back to my 70s roots where I was perfectly happy with my 8 track tapes thank you).

Luckily, my official TwitterTutor, @AliThinks -- who knew me on Facebook -- took me aside and showed me the ropes.

She taught me how to follow BACK, and now I can filter my news exactly the A.D.H.D. way I like it. Most of the time @WSJ feeds right on top of @nprPolitics interrupted by bursts of sanity from @Bittman and @MMFA.

She also taught me how to make new friends -- like @MissKristina who's sending me a Ryan Adams bootleg that I wouldn't even know existed if it were not for Twitter.

Not that giving me stuff is the only way to make friends -- but I highly recommend it.

(@ChefDaveO would STILL be one of my favorite people even if he hadn't shared his stash of Baby Bok Choy.)

And that's really what I love about Twitter -- it's a way to gather all my favorite people in the world together in one place and hear what's on their minds.

I'm sure there's a danger -- as with all things online, it could be isolating rather than uniting: everybody sits in their respective houses while maintaining the illusion of communication and connectivity -- but I find it's opening my world up.

I was a FAN of my friend @BiancaLynne for a long time before I even met her, for example -- but Facebook was where we eventually got together and made a plan to have coffee.

The same was true of my BFF -- who now schools me in all things NewMedia and patiently tolerates my baby steps. I was a fan for years (decades in fact) before we ever had a real-life lunch. Facebook is what facilitated that.

My preferences for Twitter over FB will likely end up being moot -- everyday I get a new Tweet that half the people I know are getting kicked off FB.


  1. Thanks for the shout out! I think Facebook and Twitter serve different purposes and different clientele, to be honest. I'm like you on FB, except I do play the occasional game of Scrabble Beta. :)

    Twitter is great for instant "news," and I would disagree that it's isolating us. I've met a whole bunch of people in real life (including you) because of it.

  2. I appreciate your commentary. Also enjoy your tweets. My issue is that there are zillions on Twitter who sign up to follow and I'll bet they do it just to have the numbers. I have learned to be very picky about who I follow on Twitter. there are way too many advertisers that use it as a way to get a free ad in...

    The other day I had sent a Tweet out to all my followers..167 of them... All I asked them was to send me a Direct Message back if they had read my tweet. I got 3 DMs and no replies.

    With FB, almost everyone is really a friend or an acquaintance and many of them read the stuff on there.

    Like you, I don't care about the snowball fights, scrabulous, etc. I use it as a means of communicating with friends and fans, etc.

    Well, there is my ultra-inflated two cents worth....Emjoy the Ride

  3. I haven't personally found it isolating at all (just the opposite) -- but for people like me who are very socially backward, I imagine it could be a real risk to just sit at home in the PJs(which I'm doing right now, actually... hey wait a second...)

    I also follow very judiciously, and am just barely getting the hang of direct messages.Maybe I'm getting spam and just don't know how to open it.

    I've noticed two camps I don't like -- the Shameless Sellers, and the Fortune Cookie tweeters who just seem to copy greeting cards into 140 characters (sometimes it's the same person).

    I do still love me my FB, but find it getting a little more unwieldy.

  4. For me, the social and professional networking aspect of Facebook is still far superior. As you know, I'm verbose. As a writer and a researcher, I need a lot of words. And footnotes. And pictures. One hundred forty characters just don't cut it for me (I was never really good at Haiku). I also love to take photographs to express my opinions, which Twitter doesn't support.

    I also find that Twitter has far fewer of my friends and professional contacts, which by necessity renders it less interesting for me. I am willing to reserve judgment until my tweeps (29) are similar in number to my Facebookies (510)...

  5. As Heather said, there is some value to Twitter. I think it is great for instant news feeds. I get the Herald-Leader, CNN, WKYT, WUKY, Rick Sanchez, George Stephanopoulous and others. I do follow friends comings and goings as well. Twitter is a perfect medium for that.

    But, like Heather, I like to write more than 140 characters. I like the pics as well.

    I am an avid FB user and a once or twice a day tweeter.

  6. Well, we allllll know I like to write more than 140 characters too... but I'm training myself to spend more time on the blogs, and a little less on FB.

    The horror stories I've read (@WSJ and @AdAge) and heard from writer/photographer friends who've just gotten the unceremonious FB boot --and lost all their stuff --just put the fear o' God in me.

    I do like the new format so far. I'm a little lost on finding my groups and fan pages, but overall, I like the convenience of it being update-heavy -- that's why I'm there.