I saw a question over on O’Reilly Answers entitled Twitter vs Facebook: Are Tweets Getting Quieter?, to which I tried to put together an answer. I’ve given it more thought though, which turned into this blog post. It got kind of long though…
Personally, I don’t think either Twitter or Facebook is getting quieter, but I do think that other forms of blogging, especially Livejournal, are losing traffic to both.
I’ve certainly noticed it on Livejournal, and others have mentioned it too – formerly prolific bloggers are falling away to the lure of the 140 character instant update. Instead of spending a bit of time thinking about and composing a post, it’s far easier to fire off a quick thought on Twitter.
I’m not saying it’s wrong. Some of you are also on Twitter and will know that I spend a lot of time on there. Less so Facebook, but that’s another story.
I think that Twitter does have its place in the current online social landscape. Personally, I love the stream of consciousness feel to it, and the variety of people you get posting on there who wouldn’t normally bother with more traditional blogging. It’s great to fire off a tweet with a cool link to something, or a witticism and get immediate feedback. I try and remember to post them up to LJ or here too, but not always.
However, it’s not so good for keeping up to date with everything – the Twitter stream is full and fast-flowing and not really designed for going back through more than the last hour or so’s tweets (depending on the number of people you’re following and how vocal they are, obviously). I’ve had occasions where I’ve only found out that something has happened to someone when they’ve posted on their blog wondering why no-one has commented on them being ill, for example. Turns out they tweeted about it several times, but at times where I wasn’t online, was busy doing something, or was fast asleep. Had the same person posted on their blog that something was up and I’d have been more likely to read the post as I *do* skim back a fair way when I read LJ, or blogs.
So, Twitter has it’s upside, and downside.
On to Facebook. I’m really starting to dislike Facebook. They have a rather cavalier approach to personal privacy, despite protestations that they want to keep your stuff private, and Facebook feels like it’s being taken over by the automated status update. I sorry, but I really couldn’t care less who is doing what on Farmville, Mafiawars or Bejewelled. Yes, you can turn them off, but you shouldn’t have to – I want Facebook to be *actual* updates from my friends.
Then you have the whole ‘friends’ issue. Do you accept the friend request from that guy at work who you sort-of-know but not really? Old school friends pop up and you end up saying ‘Hi! how the devil are you?’, exchange pleasantries for a couple of emails then never speak to them again.
I’m tempted to just nuke the account. But then how would my myriad of FB chums keep in touch with me? 🙂
Would I miss it? Probably, for a week or so. Then I’d get on with life as normal. Perhaps I should harvest emails of people I actually want to keep in touch with, *then* nuke the account. Hmm.
Twitter wins in one regard in that you can follow anyone, and conversely, can *stop* following anyone you’re not interested in. I wonder how many of the accounts following me on Twitter are actual people and not spammers? I assume that a lot of spam accounts end up being blocked and deleted after a while, but are there really 500+ people following my every tweet? Surely not.
Thoughts, comments, queries on a postcard, to the usual address, if you will. 🙂