A lot of discussion goes on these days regarding what is the best social media platform. The two names that come up the most frequently in my social circles (Google+ pun not intended) are Twitter and Facebook. While there are many great social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook have built up the largest active user bases, have endured the test of time, and have widespread global reach. The notion of “best”, however, is very hard to define, and cannot be determined by a simple user count. When comparing the two, I like to use a more subjective metric: coolness. Judging the two platforms in terms of which is more cool, the winner is clear. Twitter is far more cool than Facebook will ever be, and here are a few reasons why:
1) With Intelligent Conversation, Less is More
One of Twitter’s charms is that it requires brevity. Facebook, in part to compete with Google+, constantly increases the character limit for posts. While the ability to say more is not in itself bad, the added freedom has a tendency to create an incoherent mess. Twitter’s 140 character limit forces editing of content, and greater attention to the core message. With no text constraint on Facebook, posts have the potential to become very cluttered and rambling. As with most things, a laconic style is better received than a bombastic one.
2) Facebook is Stationary, Twitter is Mobile
Communicating face to face is the heart of human interaction, and social media platforms need to have mobile potential in order to be truly social. This is where the difference between Twitter and Facebook is the most apparent. To use all it’s functions, Facebook needs to run in a computer browser. Twitter, on the other hand, is geared towards interacting with people in real time, and is fully functional within the mobile app. For the socialite who wants to integrate social media with his or her schedule, the natural choice is Twitter. Taking some pictures and documenting a party after everyone has gone home is not social. Facebook is a social archive; it documents past events and helps maintain previously established friendships. It is to socializing what museums are to culture: a place to preserve the past, but not to define the cutting edge.
3) Twitter Better Mimics Human Interaction
When you meet someone, you meet because of a mutual interest. The most random meeting at a party happens because both people want something similar, even if it’s just wanting to get out of the house. It stands to reason that a social media platform which allows users to connect via mutual interest would be desirable to social people. Twitter is fantastic at this. Since it’s content is public, a keyword search puts millions of like-minded users at your fingertips. Add public lists and thousands of third-party apps, and locating the right people becomes simple and easy. With Facebook, you have a “wall of friendship” that blocks all interaction until a friend request is accepted. Because of this, friending happens mostly after people meet in person. Why limit social media to maintaining previously established connections? Social media can be a tool to help find people with the same interests as you. The precedent of meeting people online has been well established by online dating, but why limit it to romance? Why not use social media to find other artists for collaborations, or to tweak new baking recipes? What could be more cool than connecting with someone thousands of miles away because you both like the same music, or are influenced by the same painters? Facebook can keep it’s 800+ million users, as far as I’m concerned. Nothing is cooler than Twitter.
Mr. David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.