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Media Matters: Podcasting, Vidcasting and other Online Media Tools, Tips and Trends » 2009» June

Archive for June, 2009

Twitter is from Mars, Facebook is from Venus

Friday, June 5th, 2009


There’s a lot of confusion out there about the usefulness of these two social media tools. Facebook has gotten a lot of play as a place for brands and organizations to attract attention and interact with their audience or customers. Twitter has attracted a mix of attention because members of Congress are using it to promote their agendas and update their constituents. We here at HNP have our own ideas about what differentiates these two tools, and what you should be doing with them.

First, you should be on Facebook and Twitter. There’s no question that both sites attract huge audiences. They’re free, and the presence can’t hurt you if you check in on a semi-regular basis to update. That said, we think Twitter is the best use of your time and energy, even though the funny video above could lead you to a different conclusion.

As we implied in the headline, we think Twitter is a more professional, logical means of communication, while Facebook is more social in a high school sort of way. On Facebook, people are getting constant updates from their friends on what they ate for lunch, the pictures from their recent skiing trip, and other updates that only a close friend would be interested in. And the longer the user is on Facebook, the more friends they collect, and the more their page gets clogged with the minutae of their friends’ lives. Friends poke each other, turn each other into zombies, and share their 5 Favorite Beers.

Twitter, on the other hand, shuns the pokes and prods to provide a forum that is easy to use and attracts a more professional crowd. Sure, there are still the people letting you in on their personal lives, but Twitter’s “microblogging” is a great way to collect updates from knowledgeable experts on topics that interest you. Users are much more likely to use search terms on Twitter to seek out organizations and experts to get updates from. The result is a useful feed with quick updates of relevance to your audience.

And if you need another reason to focus on Twitter, Facebook is buggier than a beehive. Updating a site recently for a client, we went to link their Fan page with their Causes page. This sent Facebook into an infinite loop that we couldn’t escape from. For all its popularity, Facebook is seriously in need of debugging. That shouldn’t stop you from being there, but don’t put all your eggs into this basket, and remember that your message can get lost here wedged between our college roommate trading Star Wars figures and my Scrabble game with my mother.