The second article in the comparative series, this one gives a detailed comparison of Facebook & Twitter, the largest two social media platforms of the online world. I have presented a comprehensive comparison of both these platforms and also a prediction based on the analysis as to which will become the 1000 pound Gorilla of the Indian online space. I have also equated the competition to the dotcom boom that we saw during the late nineties. This was the time when many firms backed by venture capitalists with deep pockets were looking to dominate the online space. The sudden boom also led to the rise of internet search and virtually commoditised it to the fullest possible extent. As a result, the monetization potential of all the companies was over-exploited and the bubble burst.
A similar phenomenon can be expected with the social media space. However, there still seems to be a considerable amount of time left for the same and unlike the dotcom era, consumers today are much more receptive to newer platforms and brand managers are only too happy to cater to them on every possible space.
But this level of acceptance is not enjoyed by all the emerging platforms. Many have been dropped like hot cakes. Instances like MySpace, Fropper, Orkut (often referred to as the dark past of every Facebook user) are abundant. Many of the platforms that are doing well in terms of traffic will also need time to figure out effective montization strategies if they are to survive in the long run.
Facebook vs. Twitter; Business Models:
As of now, there is not a fully defined business model in place for both of these SNS platforms. Also, it is pretty early in the game and there is much more left to be done. And the eventual winners of the Social Networking Space may not even exist as of today. However, keeping in mind the growth of the two contenders in question,we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of one of them emerging as the winner in the long run.
Facebook vs. Twitter; Key Elements:
There are many substantial and direct differences between Facebook & Twitter as Social Networking Sites. So much so that making a direct comparison between the two is not possible for many aspects. On the whole, Twitter is a simplified platform and looks more like Google of the year 1998. On the other hand, Facebook reminds us of Yahoo of the nineties with its User Interface which looks more portal-like.
Facebook primarily aims to let users re-connect with family members & relatives, seek out old friends and batch-mates and look for new one’s online. It offers a comprehensive bouquet of features like chat, video and image sharing and even email which has been recently added. The overall user-interface is same and easy to understand and navigate around. Also, people can play games and compete with their friends on Facebook.
Twitter, as a platform is harder to navigate for new users. But once you spend some time on the platform. It allows users to get information in small, bite-sized chunks and also tweet in the same format. It will also let you share precise details at every moment. Moreover, you can also get a lot of information in the form of links and also post the same as a Tweet.
People Love Facebooking: ReasonsSocial Animals love “Facebooking” a lot and there are many out there who are addicted to the platform. The platform satiates their never-ending need of staying connected with friends & family in a way no other platform can. Gone are the days when one needed a Yahoo, Gmail and other Instant Messaging tools that people used. Instead Facebook Chat is now the communications feature that people rely on for staying in touch with their friend circle and also for contacting new people. What’s more, the video and photo sharing features are really loved by all people and are one of the primary reasons why people love Facebook.
The above are the main reasons why people love Facebook. To cut it short, Facebook gives people a single alternative to Yahoo Messenger, Aim, Flickr, Hotmail & Youtube. As such, it is no surprise that the company invested around 200 million US Dollars last year to upgrade its data centers last year!
The “Like” button made of Ice outside the new Sweden Datacenter of Facebook.
People Love Tweeting: Reasons
Overall, Twitter’s usefulness is not as evident as Facebook’s on the first look. Although the regular users actually find it more addictive than Facebook once you become a frequent “Tweeter” & “Follower” on the platform. This is mainly because the responses to what you share are more immediate as compared to those on Facebook. As such, experts feel Twitter is placed somewhere between the world of emailing and that of instant messaging and it compliments blogging. Also, the platform encourages hyper-linking to other websites all over the Net.
It therefore does not come as a surprise that Twitter is the preferred platform for brand managers and the technical people as it helps in creating a huge awareness about stuff in a very short time.
Different Social Settings Integrated with Different Social Settings:
Let us look at both these platforms in a more objective manner now.
Let’s say that you are attending the wedding or any other such social gathering where you and a lot many people know each other. Of course, you will chat with them, share experiences and gossip while totally being yourself. You can equate this tone and style of communicating with the one you use on Facebook. It is direct, casual and has a sense o familiarity associated with it.
Now put yourself in a large party where you and most of the invited people do not know each other at all. The way you communicate here will be very formal and you will even be careful as to what you say and the way you interact. You will want to leave a good and lasting impression on the people around and also want to be comfortable in the spotlight. Interacting on Twitter is the similar to attending such a party. You are here to promote yourself and make an impression on the others.
Although, if you really want to be honest, almost every one of us must have posted useless and unnecessary updates like “out with friends” or “having dinner” and other such stuff during our initial days of using Twitter. Actually, Twitter is one platform that is meant to make an impression and communicate as if you are on a stage communicating to a huge audience.
Which is better? My Verdict:
While the followers of each platform will prefer the one they use most, I would say that each has its own set of pro’s and con’s that tend to appeal or disinterest users. Both have its own value addittion for brands and users alike and which platform is better will really depend upon the purpose of using it.
Featured Image courtesy cambodia4kidsorg