Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Twitter v. Facebook

A couple months back, I wrote about giving Twitter a look. In the past few months, I’ve found it’s never become part of my daily routine. It’s somewhat interesting to see what others are up to, but the signal-to-noise ratio is higher than I need. I tried using a stand-alone Twitter client (Twitbox for Windows) to be more aware of what was going on, but it ended up suffering a number of memory leaks. I didn’t like the noise getting sent to my phone, so it ended up being just one more webpage I had to go visit… which ended up not being all that regular.

The bottom line is that the micro-blogging that Twitter encourages isn’t something I find I have a great need for. Certainly not something I need an entire service devoted to.

Facebook, on the other hand, is proving to be quite useful. As Don discussed last week, more and more adults are finding Facebook to be valuable.  And none other than skeptic Nick Denton wrote this about Gawker Media’s adoption of Facebook:

But Facebook invitations seem to be, at least for the moment, of a higher quality: people I might want to list. And, because it’s a general-purpose networking tool, rather than simply for the purpose of business, it feels less cheesy. We’re getting everybody at Gawker Media to set up Facebook accounts, if they don’t already have one, and migrating our staff directory to the system. I would have been mocked for using Linked In for that purpose.

Facebook includes the ability to update your status – effectively the same thing as a Twitter post. Those updates can be posted via SMS or via the web, much like Twitter. And the status updates page provides a running tally of your friends’ posts, similar to how Twitter keeps you in the loop about what your friends are up to. Facebook is a well-designed site, it’s easy to use, and its already large audience is growing quickly. Their inclusion this week of free classifieds makes a ton of sense, and the fact that its raison d’etre is not micro-blogging ensures that as needs change they will still have a reason to use Facebook.

I haven’t checked in on Twitter in almost a week. And I don’t miss it. Ironically enough, I just tried to go to Twitter to find out when my last post was, and it’s down. As Jason notes, this is an unfortunate byproduct of Twitter’s growth… he and others are finding it to be a valuable part of their day. For me, I’ve found Facebook to be more my style.


  1. As the author of TwitBox I'd be interested in this reference to memory leaks as I have had any of the versions running for days on end without seeing this.

  2. Steven - Didn't mean to do a drive-by blogging on Twitbox... should have provided more detail. I had several cases where TwitBox was consuming an inordinate amount of RAM and/or the VM size was large (300+ megs). When that would happen, it resulted in serious system lag, to the point that other apps would hang. Could well be something in my config, or could have something to do with Twitter downtime... if I can help debug anything, let me know.

    On a separate note, apologies for the comment made in passing... I hate when people do it for my products, especially when they don't reach out first to figure out if something's legitimately wrong. Meal culpa - and thanks for leaving the comment.

  3. no problems :)

    what version were you using when you had the problem? there was one version (0.7.2 IIRC) that got quickly replaced for various reasons.

    The current version is 0.7.7 with a new release coming by the weekend that is going to be a full point release (0.8.0)

  4. We have a winner. It was 0.7.2! I'll download an update, though I'm still not sure I'm sticking with Twitter. But at least that's not your issue. ;)

  5. [...] Facebook is re-launching itself as a platform is important, for a number of reasons. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Facebook has become part of my routine: it’s a way to connect and keep in touch with [...]