Today’s most popular and used social networks are by far Facebook and Twitter. These two social networks are quite different nature. Both in terms of the connections as well as in their architecture.
When it comes to connections these two platforms offer it can be divided as in the picture above, between an interest graph and a social graph. On Facebook you probably know all the people already. You care about what they think and how they feel. All the “friends“ you make on Facebook are mutually reciprocated. In other words there is a social bond between you and that other person. However weak or strong that may be.
Twitter on the other hand is formed around the interest graph. You start to follow people because you think they say interesting things or are interesting in other ways. You don’t necessarily care how they are doing on a personal level but take great interest in what they know on a professional level which also mean they might not follow back because you aren’t interesting to them. In other words there isn’t necessarily a social bond between people on Twitter.
One of the most common misconceptions around twitter have been the question of why would like to read about a bunch of people posting what they ate for breakfast. This is essentially applying the logic of the social graph on a platform that mostly centers around the interest graph.
For instance if a close friend or family would write that they are going to the hospital it would be of great interest to you. But if that same status update came from a person you knew next to nothing about you probably would not bother.
That is not to say that you could try creating your interest graph on Facebook and have your social graph on Twitter. But because of the difference in architecture in both of these platforms there it is easier to form your interest graph on twitter whereas on Facebook it’s easier to form your social graph.
In the end it comes down to how the relationships are formed. On Facebook every relationship has to be reciprocated which means you will more likely only reciprocate people you know in one way or the other. It’s like inviting the friends you care about to your living room for a cup of tea.
On Twitter the dynamic is slightly different. Anyone might start following you and anyone might start a conversation with you. So Twitter in that sense is more like going to a party and striking up conversations with those interesting and thoughtful people out there. Because of twitter’s open nature in this respect the status updates tend to spread far faster and wider on twitter than on Facebook. The open nature also allows newspapers and other media to pick up the trends and talk about it. Something that would never happens to updates on Facebook.
Another crucial architectural difference between Facebook and Twitter. The degree of transcience in the messages sent. On facebook a popular message will always stick around for a fair bit longer than twitter messages. Partly because of their default setting, top news, which shows the most liked or commented objects. But also partly because of the notification system that is clearly visible at the top. This makes facebook status updates in a sense more valuable from a marketing perspective. But it also allows people to a have a discussion that is coherent and easy to follow on Facebook whereas that is more difficult on twitter.
So both have networks has its merits and demerits. I myself prefer the open nature of twitter and how it is centered around the interest graph. But I certainly miss a feature to have better and more engaging discussions which I would say is facebook’s hallmark.
The reverbation of today's society through the eyes of a person deeply in love with planet earth. The transformation of today's society is going on in front of our very eyes, I'm striving to be one of the persons to tell the tale of how it was done.
I think at the core of a happier planet and happier persons is community, sharing and telling stories.