On the Difference between Facebook & Twitter; and the Vitality of Social Media

The “feel” of Twitter (Renoir/visipix.com)

This quote from author/speaker/teacher Marianne Williamson sums up the greater meaning of the social media explosion around the world for me~ “It is not only our interconnectedness technologically that promises to shift the world we live in, but our interconnectedness humanly and spiritually.”

Erik Qualman, the author of “Socialnomics,” shares a statistic that points to the triumphant human need for “belonging”:  Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web.

For those doubting the importance of this connection, he also adds, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”

Aren’t Facebook and Twitter the same kind of thing?

It’s true that Facebook & Twitter ARE both forms of “social media,” but they are used quite differently for different purposes.

10 distinctions between Twitter and Facebook

1. You can only use up to 140 characters on Twitter for each post.

2. You don’t have “friends,” you have “followers.”

3. You can generally “follow” anyone you want without approval.

eg. I follow a mom of 3 in Israel who is a chiropractor.  (As mothers, we both use the “FlyLady” system to maintain household sanity.)

4. Twitter users can check out live conversations on ANY topic by using the search feature.

5. Twitter users can create their own topics of conversation by using a “hashtag” at the end of each post.

eg. On Tuesday mornings I sometimes participate in an informal poetry group by searching the hashtag “#poettues and then using that same hashtag at the end of each of my responding posts.  In this way, the participants posts are grouped together.  (FYI: Tuesday morning’s poetry conversation is moderated by a very friendly poet at Writers Digest–and everyone is welcome–see #10 below.)  Other conversations may occur spontaneously or as scheduled events on Twitter.  I once participated in an “#ideaparty” where folks who studied with author/presenter Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft” helped those of us in need with all kinds of ideas and connections.

6. While Facebook can be experienced as an ongoing friends & family reunion, Twitter is more like stopping in at a lively cafe, filled with familiar and new faces–talking about new and familiar topics.

7. I primarily use Facebook for more personal connections though  I do share “my work” and I do  “network” with my Facebook “friends”–for personal and business needs–even attracting clients.

The vibrant learning community of Twitter (Canaletto II/visipix.com)

8. Twitter has been a place of networking too–but more with colleagues than with friends and family. It’s also been a tremendous place of learning for me with the latest news from individuals and organizations; and with the latest information– and leads–in each of my areas of interest–from parenting to publishing, and everything in between.

eg. This week, I noticed great tidbits of information (and links) on the topic of social media for authors.  Each of these posts had the same hashtag: “#bea.”  I discovered that #bea stood for BookExpo America so I did a Twitter “search” with that hashtag and followed hundreds of live Tweets from the event in New York City.  From there I was able to add interesting publishers, agents and writers to my list of follows so that I can keep abreast of their work in the future. Additionally, I discovered a related hashtag of “#armchairBEA” which was made up of people like me who couldn’t be at BookExpo America in person, but who wanted to follow and participate in all it had to offer. You probably have a sense already of how quickly learning and networking becomes exponential on Twitter.

A seat for all on Twitter (Steen/visipix.com)

9. Because Twitter has a cafe feeling about it, there’s little if any social responsibility to “show up” or “respond” to others. Many people have hundreds, if not thousands of followers, so expecting a personal response is far fetched.

That said, I have developed treasured friendships on Twitter and have had enjoyed exchanges with well-known authors and the like–which brings me to that which I love most about it:

10. On Twitter, everyone has a seat at the table.  And those who come with the biggest purses (of information and love)–are very, very generous.

Click here to follow me on Twitter.

Hope to see you there!


5 responses to “On the Difference between Facebook & Twitter; and the Vitality of Social Media”

  1. Ann Delaney Avatar

    Kelly: I have referenced your quote: “Twitter is more like stopping in at a lively cafe, filled with familiar and new faces…” as an explaination of my use of Twitter instead of Facebook.
    I appreciate that you link your blog posts on Twitter- it’s a reminder for me to stop by and catch up!


  2. Amused Avatar

    This was very helpful as I have been coming around to seeing the usefulness of signing up for twitter for my blog. I may just do it this weekend!


  3. Callista Avatar

    Great post. I’ve been trying to explain to my brother why he needs to be on twitter but he just doesn’t get it. I sent him a link to this.


  4. Emily E Ellsworth Avatar

    Great post! I love social media. (It’s my generation I guess). Twitter has become much more important to me than Facebook. I love following the conversations and participating in the community where everyone is equal.


  5. Aths Avatar

    Good post! I used to only occasionally use Twitter, but I’ve now come to see its usefulness. Probably one of the best inventions of mankind!


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