A Skirmish of Social Networks

As Public Relations professional and instructor Melanie Lee Lockhart noted on her blog in September, "Twitter isn't a soapbox and megaphone." She comments that Twitter is not a linear channel of communication, but rather a digital dialogue tool.

In this regard, I agree with her. Twitter is a perpetual conversation, a round table demanding discussion. You can't exist interestingly on Twitter without speaking with some semblance of substance. In contrast, another titan of social media, the behemoth known as Facebook, is less of an oral forum, but rather more of a exhibitionist act. Yes, the site does have a chat function, but it's allure stems not from there. Each page of Facebook has a single moderating entity, with comments coming from that entity's audience. Even Facebook groups each have administrators, gatekeepers of sorts.

Here lies the dichotomy between the two. Yes, Facebook allows for conversation, but it does not lend itself directly to dialogue the way Twitter does. Twitter was meant for such messages to be sent and received in that manner, one goes through their list of tweets in search of interesting articles, lucrative links, posts pertaining to their passions. Facebook can't quite claim that. Further, Twitter allows for subordinate connections, or 'follows'. I can follow the tweets of a professional who has never heard of me. Thus, I can receive the information they offer without having to convince them to accept my friend request. And, in the event that I do wish to establish a more corporeal bridge at them, I can tweet at them concerning that which they are already discussing, giving us a topic of conversation. Facebook offers only a message to be sent with the initial friend request.

Understand, this is an unfounded opinion. I have not surveyed my peers, this is my own personal perspective. It just seems like Twitter provides more opportunity for conversation than Facebook. Facebook s a forum populated with pictures and videos. Naturally, these factors can be beneficial. You don't have to convince whomever it is you are in conversation with to click on a link to view your videos and pictures. Also, Facebook allows for more involvement in-site. Tweets are strictly copy, short copy at that. For more interactive involvement, links are necessary. Facebook has groups you can join, pages you can become a fan on, an entire world to wile the hours away in. There are countless things to be a part of on Facebook.

Facebook has proven sustainability, Twitter has novelty. Facebook is immersive, expansive. Twitter is streamlined, aerodynamic. They serve separate functions. Perhaps they can co-exist. Or perhaps a Twitter-esque form of Facebook or a Facebook-esque form of Twitter will be developed, and the two shall compete even more directly. Only time will tell.
Picture courtesy of dotpod.com


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