Facebook vs Twitter

Today in my Social Media in Public Relations class, we got into this discussion based on social media relationships — specifically, Facebook vs Twitter.

One side was that Facebook is better for relationships.  Why? It’s not as public, you can control who sees the things you post, you can interact more, you can simply do more.

The other side, Twitter, was that it’s more about sharing thoughts, ideas & content and not making and maintaining relationships.

Valid arguments were made both ways, but it made me wonder, why can’t they both used to build and maintain relationships?

Just as we all have different relationships with different people, why wouldn’t we have different relationships on Twitter than we do on Facebook?  Twitter is a great way to get your information out there, to share content, to get the point across (you do only have 140 characters, after all).  It’s also a way, though, to connect.  Twitter is one of the only media that can allow you to easily search for people of common interests and follow them with an easy click.  Then, suddenly, you’re allowed into their world of tweets, thoughts and other various content they decide to share, which will (most likely) coincide with your interests (given that, after all, you decided to follow them.)

For instance, say I wanted to work someday at the New York Times.  If I search on Twitter “New York Times,” other accounts that are associated with that pop-up in the side bar.  I can find other columnists, see who they follow, what they tweet, follow other people related to them.  I could even Tweet them to make a connection — who knows where it may lead!

Which leads me to my next point, in that Twitter is a great place for networking and chatting, too.  Just because there isn’t a “chat” function, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  You know those little hashtags?  You can use those to chat with people from across the world about specific topics.  Quite generally, my class participated in one during class time last week using our class hashtag #SoMePR (follow it! We’d love to have you join!).  Other Twitter Chats I’ve participated in are #PRStudChat #PRSSA.  Did you know there’s even a website full of hashtags for different Twitter Chats?

Facebook is great.  It’s great for staying close to friends and family, and sharing information on your new baby, posting pictures of your new apartment or new car, or telling people what you had for dinner (because your mom WILL be checking…).  It’s a great place to document travels and years gone by, to reconnect, to stay up-to-date, and everything between.  But just because Twitter uses a much more simple interface doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in the same ways, or in others.

Twitter is just as great of a place to connect and share with others, to share information and post photos, but just maybe in different ways than you can do on Facebook.  But just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s inferior.  Afterall, just because your relationship with your family is different from your relationship with your teachers doesn’t mean that one is necessarily better than the others, or the relationship with your significant other is better/worse than your relationship with your friends, they’re just different.  And, going back to pre-school for a second, we all know that being different is what makes us unique, and what makes us unique is what makes us beautiful.

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