If you’re a social media fan, this might appear to be a ridiculous question that you wouldn’t waste time on. But to the Facebook masses who haven’t tried Twitter, it’s a matter of interest and consternation. They hear about Twitter all the time in the media – some of them have given it a try. Yet they remain confused, because Twitter doesn’t work like Facebook and they’re searching for reasons why they should use it.
There’s a few headline answers I give to this question:
• Facebook is where you mingle with friends you already know – Twitter is where you talk to strangers and make new friends
• Facebook is for sharing old stories and photos – Twitter is for sharing what’s happening now ( I see plenty of breaking news, traffic and weather updates on Twitter, but people rarely bother to share this on Facebook)
• On Facebook, a person has to accept you as a friend before you can keep up with their news – on Twitter, you can follow who you like, even celebrities (apart from the rare blocked accounts of course)
There are many more key differences, which are perhaps too complicated to share with newbies, including:
• On Facebook, if you’re pissed off with something, you start a group. For example a group called “I hate it when toilet rolls are hanging the wrong way”. On Twitter, you start a hashtag, #hateitwhentoiletrollshangwrongway
• Facebook houses games, applications and quizzes – so you can spend a lot of time there without actually communicating with your friends at all (besides recruiting them to your crazy farm/pirate/mafia/vampire game or forwarding them the Are You A Psycho Quiz). Although many tweets contain links that send you elsewhere for news and fun, Twitter is very much based on conversations with your connections and you’re driven to a dialogue more so than on Facebook
• Facebook has less surprises. (You might be surprised by a Friend request that comes from someone you haven’t seen since your braces were removed – but rarely are you surprised ‘mid conversation’ by someone joining in, offering their two bobs worth.)
• Facebook is like a directory, where a business has a page and you can find out what they offer. On Twitter, you’ve thrown away the directory and prefer to ask your friends. For example, you tweet “Does anyone know a good mechanic in Magill?” or “I want to impress visitors: what are your restaurant recommendations, #Adelaide?”
I like this blog post on the topic: Twitter versus Facebook: should you choose one?
What do you tell people who ask about the difference between Facebook and Twitter?