Sunday, May 10, 2009

Facebook 1, Twitter 0

This post is dedicated to January Williams, who suggested that I write about viral entertainment with examples like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Since most people use YouTube to watch videos and not to make their own, I have decided to compare Facebook and Twitter.

I will admit that it may take more time for me to fully evaluate Twitter. Just like Facebook, Twitter may change over time. But right now, I have to say that Facebook is winning.

I will begin by saying that I was one of the first people to use Facebook. In fact, when I signed up for Facebook, it wasn't even at Instead, it was located at Facebook started at Harvard University and then became open to the other Ivy League schools. After that, Facebook was opened to other top schools. When I signed up for Facebook in April 2004, it was only available at about 20 schools.

Facebook continued to evolve over the last five years. Not only can you updated your status, but your friends can comment on your status. You can post comments on the walls of profiles and people can comment on your comments. These comments and responses can lead to open discussions among friends. I have actually made a few friends based on conversations that I have had with people I knew from college. You can also join groups and even create your own groups on Facebook. I have gained friends through different groups and sometimes those friendships have formed between people who actually disagree on topics.

Twitter is a great format for celebrities to give small updates to their fans. Updates can quickly be sent out for others to see. Fans choose to follow the celebrity, but the celebrity does not have to follow or befriend the fan.

Here are the problems that I have with Twitter:

1. Without requiring mutual friendship, the one-way friendship leads to one-way conversations. It is possible that you may try to be very active on Twitter without receiving any responses.

2. When you respond to updates on someone's Twitter page, your response does not show up on the person's page. At least with Facebook, seeing the responses on the person's page can allow a multi-person discussion. Facebook is about more than updates, and it handles updates better than Twitter does.

3. While Twitter is great for celebrities, I don't think that it improves "interaction" between celebrities and their fans. If a celebrity uses a personal website, Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter, it is up to the celebrity to do the work to interact with the fans. While many celebrities praise Twitter, they are human beings and will only interact with fans as much as they choose.

I would say that Facebook is designed so you can interact with your friends. Twitter is designed so you can listen to, not interact with, celebrities. I will not declare Facebook the winner yet because I don't know how Twitter may change over time. I will say that:

1. Facebook is winning.

2. Unlike when I started to use Facebook, the lack of interaction on Twitter is making me bored of it.

If Twitter does not improve, then not only will I declare that Facebook is the winner, but I may cancel my Twitter account.


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