Monday, November 29, 2010

The Other Kind of Twitter snob

A few weeks ago, I blogged about what I call Twitter snobs. These are people who aren't really famous, but are using Twitter to create a brand for themselves. If you follow one of these people you will get a mention or a DM that essentially says "Thank you for following. Here is how following me benefits you." I wasn't saying everyone with thousands of followers is that way, I was just saying some Twitter users are more interested in monologue than dialogue. But today, I discovered another type of Twitter snob. I got a tweet from someone I follow that said:

"Facebook is to the web what Microsoft is to the desktop: mindbogglingly gargantuan, relentlessly mediocre & almost inescapable."

This gives credence to another post I wrote a few weeks ago about Apple snobs (and now that I am 6 days away from being an iPhone user I will have to be really careful not to fall into this technological abyss). But this tweet also tipped me off to a second variety of Twitter snob. That is those who feel that Twitter is superior to Facebook and that Facebook users are somehow the Morlocks of the tech world.

I am on Facebook and Twitter. I do not think either is superior, nor can I even compare the two. To me comparing Twitter and Facebook is like comparing a car hood to a hot sidewalk. Both items will cook an egg. But outside of that, the similarities really stop. So why do I think it's erroneous to compare the two?

  • Facebook is a familiar, user-friendly interface that allows people who usually know each other in real life to connect in ways that are usually confined to geography and time. Twitter, in my opinion, is more suited to interactions between people who have never met in person or maybe strictly know each other on a professional level. Have you ever seen someone who has their Twitter account connected to Facebook? When their posts show up on Facebook, nobody comments on them because many times they don't know how to decipher the code lingo or they don't know they are supposed to click the miniature URL.
  • Facebook is an online version of real world interaction. People who know each other can correspond about their shared experiences or ones they wish they had shared. Twitter is the online version of a business/professional conference. People share experiences to people they don't really know very well and everything is done with a premise that certain people are following me because I am either in a certain line of work, into a certain hobby, I have a certain religious view, or something else about me that makes me unique.
  • Facebook is about stating what's on your mind whereas Twitter is more about being clever. Very few people on Facebook thrive on being profound (or even care about it). However, on Twitter, everyone is either a guru or a re-tweeter of a guru.
  • More people use Facebook. Last month, nearly 25% of all internet hits were on Facebook. This is not to say that it's automatically better, but it is to say that it is where people are. Few people would agree that PCs are superior to Macs, but until more people start buying Macs instead of PCs they can get for less than $200, they will always have their place in the market. And while many PC users might learn to love the sleek, smooth, touch-screeny transition to all things with fruit pictures on them, many social media users could care less about the 140 character mini-thoughts filled with too many abbreviations, @user names, and tiny links. They just want to know what their friends are up to and how life is in certain places they can't be right now. And honestly, I don't think Twitter is not the best social media for that. My 80-year old father-in-law is one of my friends on Facebook. Sometimes I post links and he doesn't even realize it is a link to be clicked. But he's on there and we interact. He would never figure out Twitter, but because he somewhat understands Facebook, I think that makes it really appealing.
I did not intend this post to be written in defense of Facebook. But I think it is the nature of all things technological that we feel somehow superior to other people because we use/have certain tech devices, we are able to use our technology certain ways, or that we can speak a language people don't understand. All of this feeds our egos. The bible says in several places that God will exalt the humble. I like this one from Psalm 149.

So do you like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social network? Do you feel this form of media is superior to the others? That is great. But please don't look down on other people because they prefer something else. What are your thoughts? Twitter? Facebook? Both?

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