Six Ways In Which Twitter Eclipses Facebook

There’s no such thing as “better than” or “worse than” when comparing social media platforms.

Each one serves different purposes and is more effective at certain things. Each one has different impact and influence in different areas.

But certainly, there are points of comparison worth considering in evaluating daily time spent on social media. There are only so many minutes in an hour, and only so much time saved by social media aggregator tools like HootSuite, CoTweet and TweetDeck.

For obvious reasons – have you noticed the name of this blog? – our alliances tend to lie with Twitter when it comes to comparison between the two titans: Facebook and Twitter. But to reiterate: each social media platform excels at different modes of communication.

However, for the sake of valuable analysis of the two major social networks of the digital age and also, you know, just for kicks, here are six ways in which Twitter eclipses Facebook:

1. Twitter makes important things happen. With a few exceptions, things that happen on Facebook tend to stay on Facebook. Things that happen on Twitter make things happen everywhere else. Facebook has a billion users, and Twitter has just over 500 million users. But the news outlets of the world are much more likely to rely on Twitter for a) breaking news and b) reactions to those major stories.

2. Twitter users post more frequently. Most people, businesses, and brands post more often on Twitter than they do on Facebook, which may not sound like an across-the-board good thing. But there’s a reason for it: with Twitter’s reverse-chronological news feed, brands and marketers know that followers have only a small window of time in which to catch the content, unlike Facebook, where content can live near-permanently until it is replaced by its next of kin. Twitter’s firehose of data can be overwhelming compared to Facebook’s more slowly updated newsfeed, but it also can raise the probability that you will see an important piece of information.

3. Twitter lets you follow a hand-picked community of people. Unlike Facebook, where you likely have, out of your total friend base, a few hundred friends you could take or leave, Twitter is meant for the tailored microcosm, a world not made up of all of the people you have ever met but rather a community of people you admire or would like to know.

4. Twitter drives the most traffic of all the major social networks. Despite Black Friday’s lackluster performance, an October 2012 study showed that shares made on Twitter trigger, on average, 33 visits to websites, compared to 14 for Facebook and 10 for LinkedIn. Twitter also grew the most in value per share from 2010 to 2012 (330% increase).

5. Twitter is more mobile-friendly. No matter the Facebook update you’re typing on your phone, tweeting from a mobile device will always be quicker and easier. That’s because Twitter was born as a mobile network, like Instagram was. Facebook was born as a website that adapted, as all websites must, to the mobile space. You’ve only got 140 characters; how long could that take, even with a photo included?

6. Twitter causes less personal drama. On a personal level, Twitter is just less likely than Facebook to stir the pot when it comes to friendships and relationships. On Twitter, there are no relationship statuses, shove-in-your-face photo albums, public “likes,” or open forum conversations with easily trackable dialogue. As a network that began on a college campus, Facebook will always have that inherent potential for social unrest. Worth mentioning: a study earlier this year revealed that Facebook caused a third of divorces in 2011.

What’s your opinion on the Facebook vs. Twitter debate? Do you use one more frequently? Both for different things? Hit the comments.

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