Twitter vs Facebook: The Question

At the outset, I would like to say that I don’t think I get Twitter. On the other hand, I think I get Facebook. The source of my confusion with regard to Twitter is the question that I am expected to answer. Twitter asks you the question: “What are you doing?” Whereas Facebook’s question is “What’s on your mind?

Twitter’s About page states, “The result of using Twitter to stay connected with friends, relatives, and coworkers is that you have a sense of what folks are up to.” And that’s why they ask the question, “What are you doing?” But I see that people are hardly answering that question anymore. At least the people I follow (me including) seem to be answering Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?

Something similar happened with blogging. The word “blog” is short for “web log” and a “log” is supposed to be a listing of what someone did on a particular day. But people soon started using blogs to express their opinion, which is basically answering Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?

Over the past couple of days, I tried something. I used Twitter to tell the people following me exactly what I was doing. I told them that I was getting ready to board a plane in Goa. I told them which book I was reading. I told them I was changing planes in Brussels. I told them that I checked into the Scottsdale Plaza. Basically I answered the question, “What are you doing?” And every time I answered that question, I asked myself, “Why would anyone want to know?” and “Why should they even care?” Frankly, I believe it makes sense to tell someone what you are doing if it is going to add some value (however small it may be) to that person in some way or the other. After all, the people following me on Twitter are actually taking their time out to read what I am writing.

I highly doubt people following me on Twitter will be interested in knowing which book I am reading. But I guess they may be interested in knowing what I think about the book or its author. I doubt they will be interested in knowing what I am eating in a restaurant. But they may be interested in knowing whether I think the food is good or not. I think you get the point.

I am pretty sure people will be more interested to know what’s on my mind as opposed to what I am doing. And I believe this is probably the reason that most people, knowingly or unknowingly, more than often, end up answering Facebook’s question on Twitter.

  • Mark Burhop

    I think maybe you are follow the rules too closely 🙂

    Sure, people do post what they are doing (like getting a cup of coffee), but it can also be “Deelip’s blog was good today… here’s the URL” or some real time news that is happening like a plane crash or earthquake (usually before you see it on the news).

    Sure, some of that can be done on Facebook but its more work… visit the web page…try to get people to be your friend (you can just follow in twitter) … dig through all the other noise (pics, and adds, and games, and quizzes).

    Twitter doesn’t always have to be on what you are doing: http://twitter.com/burhop/status/1531238602

  • Mark Burhop

    I think maybe you are follow the rules too closely :-)Sure, people do post what they are doing (like getting a cup of coffee), but it can also be “Deelip’s blog was good today… here’s the URL” or some real time news that is happening like a plane crash or earthquake (usually before you see it on the news).Sure, some of that can be done on Facebook but its more work… visit the web page…try to get people to be your friend (you can just follow in twitter) … dig through all the other noise (pics, and adds, and games, and quizzes).Twitter doesn’t always have to be on what you are doing: http://twitter.com/burhop/status/1531238602

  • Deelip Menezes

    Mark,

    Like I said, I don’t get Twitter. At least not completely. But I am trying.

    Don’t get me wrong. Twitter certainly has it’s uses. Just that people are using it for more than what it was designed for, which by no way, is a bad thing.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Mark,Like I said, I don’t get Twitter. At least not completely. But I am trying.Don’t get me wrong. Twitter certainly has it’s uses. Just that people are using it for more than what it was designed for, which by no way, is a bad thing.

  • Anonymous

    Twitter will fade in a year or two; it’s the IM of “Web 2.0”.

    I don’t tweet because I’m interesting in reading and writing more substantial stuff, not trying to follow all the “memes of the moment” which everyone forgets the next day.

    There are different blogging styles, too, from diary, the mainly links, all the way to basically a magazine.

    –Tony

  • Anonymous

    Twitter will fade in a year or two; it’s the IM of “Web 2.0”.I don’t tweet because I’m interesting in reading and writing more substantial stuff, not trying to follow all the “memes of the moment” which everyone forgets the next day.There are different blogging styles, too, from diary, the mainly links, all the way to basically a magazine.–Tony

  • ralphg

    Once in a while I look at someone’s Twitter stream, and I think, “How dull!”

    As for Facebook, I use it to keep track of my two daughters’ goings-on at university.

  • ralphg

    Once in a while I look at someone’s Twitter stream, and I think, “How dull!”As for Facebook, I use it to keep track of my two daughters’ goings-on at university.

  • Dora Smith

    Deelip, good post. I heard someone refer to it as mindcasting vs. lifecasting. There is obvious value in mindcasting but I wouldn't discount the long-term value of lifecasting.

    If I had been in any of the airports you tweeted from, it would have been great to know and connect live (did this last December with Jim Brown at the Philly airport). Would have never known he & I were in the same place if we weren't lifecasting a bit.

    And some of the best connections I made through Twitter have been folks who shared some similar interest in something I had lifecasted about. These weren't folks I was already connected to in Facebook. Just today I tweeted about friends who lost their 3-wk-old baby and the outpouring of direct messages and replies was very touching. That's where you find community.

    So we don't need to know everything you eat for lunch or your every move, but some of your random actions mixed with your random thoughts could be a good blend.

    My two cents, Dora

  • Dora Smith

    Deelip, good post. I heard someone refer to it as mindcasting vs. lifecasting. There is obvious value in mindcasting but I wouldn't discount the long-term value of lifecasting. If I had been in any of the airports you tweeted from, it would have been great to know and connect live (did this last December with Jim Brown at the Philly airport). Would have never known he & I were in the same place if we weren't lifecasting a bit. And some of the best connections I made through Twitter have been folks who shared some similar interest in something I had lifecasted about. These weren't folks I was already connected to in Facebook. Just today I tweeted about friends who lost their 3-wk-old baby and the outpouring of direct messages and replies was very touching. That's where you find community.So we don't need to know everything you eat for lunch or your every move, but some of your random actions mixed with your random thoughts could be a good blend.My two cents, Dora

  • Deelip Menezes

    Dora, I agree.

    I see this as more signal to noise ratio. As it stands, the ratio is pretty weak and I believe it is going to get weaker as time proceeds, since there is nobody to control it.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Dora, I agree.I see this as more signal to noise ratio. As it stands, the ratio is pretty weak and I believe it is going to get weaker as time proceeds, since there is nobody to control it.

  • Dora Smith

    Actually the great thing about Twitter is you do control it – just unfollow the loud, noisy ones. Hope you’re enjoying Hawaii!

  • Dora Smith

    Actually the great thing about Twitter is you do control it – just unfollow the loud, noisy ones. Hope you’re enjoying Hawaii!

  • Deelip Menezes

    You are right. Just recently I cleaned out the noise by unfollowing a whole bunch of people.

    Hawaii is great. Let’s see what Boston has in store for me.

  • Deelip Menezes

    You are right. Just recently I cleaned out the noise by unfollowing a whole bunch of people.Hawaii is great. Let’s see what Boston has in store for me.