Thursday, 18 March 2010

Twitter v Facebook -The battle for No1

Which is better, Facebook or Twitter? Is one superior than the other, or do they both have their own individual place in the battle for the No1 social networking site.

And what exactly is a social networking site? You will often hear these words uttered by a bewildered grandparent (or even a parent) to a teenager when they start babbling, or even Twittering (did you see what I did there!!) about re-tweets and tagging on their pages.
A social networking site can be exactly what you want it to be. It up to you what you put in and what you get out of it. It can be a place to stay in touch with your friends and family (didn’t we used to have telephones for that,) to share photos (ditto photo albums,) or just somewhere to keep up with all the latest gossip (similarly OK magazine.)
But these days social networking sites have become so much more. Leaving aside the two other contenders for the crown - Bebo and MySpace. Both big in their day, but now well past their sell by date. Facebook and Twitter are these days the clear front runners in the race to grab today’s up and coming ‘social networker.’ But how do you choose which one to use?
Here’s my guide to what they have to offer.
Let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook is great if you like to pretend you’ve got lots of ‘friends’ but don’t actually like talking to them face to face.
It’s excellent for sharing photos of yourself and others in large and extensive photo albums. And even better, fantastic for embarrassing other people by putting bad photos of them on your page, then ‘tagging’ them so everyone else can share in their embarrassment too...
It’s good if you feel a need to build your own pretend farm, flower garden, or run your own cyber cafe.
And it’s also the site for you if you like quizzes that find out if you and your ‘friends’ are vampires, sex gods, or mass murderers.
And if you like joining groups with names such as ‘You’re so plastic, it says "Made in China” on your arse’ ‘I would say it to your face but there’s too much make up in the way.’ ‘Can this sausage roll get more fans than Cheryl Cole?’ Or my own personal favourite, ‘I don’t care how comfortable Crocs are - you look like a dumb ass!’ then why aren’t you on Facebook now...

Ok, not all of those things might be classed as plus points in Facebook’s favour... Perhaps I’ll move on.

Twitter was launched in 2006 but started to become popular in the UK in 2009.
Twitter is great for the celeb obsessed. It’s used regularly by many celebrities the world over, and if you like to follow what your favourite star is doing on a daily basis (as long as they’re a regular tweeter) then Twitter is for you. You can also send a message (Tweet) to your favoured celeb in return – just don’t bank on a reply though!
Twitter is excellent if you don’t want to read people waffling on and on for pages on a Blog about their day to lives (not this one obviously!) Twitter messages are restricted to 140 characters which makes you really think about what you say in each Tweet.
It’s good if you want to get a message across the internet super fast. The recent Daily mail article by Jan Moir about the late Stephen Gately published only days after his death, caused such an outcry on Twitter, that the Press complaints commission received more complaints over one weekend than it had in a total of 5years previously.

The main difference between Facebook and Twitter seems to be that Twitter is nearly all about the messages (Tweets), although you can Tweet a photo (Twitpic) too. Where as Facebook is a much broader site in terms of sharing your photos, videos, music and games. Some people prefer one, some another.
A difference comes in your link with other internet users too. With Facebook you are immediately linked to a ‘friend’ once you’ve accepted them. With Twitter you choose who you want to follow, and who follows you. This is why it’s so popular with celebrities. They can have thousands of fans (followers to give them their correct Twitter title) hanging on their every Tweet, but they don’t actually have to reply to any of them unless they choose to. The perfect situation ;-)

And me, well I use both!
I will soon be launching a Facebook page for my novel ‘From Notting Hill with Love...Actually.’ so keep an eye out for that. But at the moment I do tend to Twitter a bit more than I Facebook (I get many more hits on my website through my Twitter link than my Facebook one.) I just prefer the speed and immediacy of Twitter without all the other waffle on my home page. And as you can probably tell, I’m not really interested in running my own farm, or even growing my own flower garden, if I was going to do those I’d rather do them for real. Although I do draw the line at my last statement when it comes to the game Mafia Wars - which is probably best kept to the small screen...
Until the next time, enjoy your social networking and why not come and join me on mine.
I love them both really ;-)

Twitter: @AliMcNamara