Accidentally in Code

Does Facebook Render Twitter Redundant?

Posted on: October 30, 2009

I’m going to start this by saying that if you’re thinking about using Twitter to communicate with your friends, that’s a job that can be done fine by Facebook. Especially if you have a smart phone.

Of course your friends who are using Twitter are probably using it differently from Facebook (danah boyd has some commentary on that here). I definitely use these services differently, I tend to post more frequently on Twitter, share way more stuff, and Facebook I use to communicate with people who aren’t on Twitter, or for statuses that are too personal for public consumption.

Anyway, the other day one of my friends said that he was quitting Twitter because it was pointless and Facebook did everything Twitter could do (and more). And so I directed him to my Why Twitter isn’t a Pointless Waste of Time post and said – how do you replicate information gathering on Facebook. And he said – groups.

I disagree, because I think Twitter gives you so much control over your stream, and you can’t have that in a Facebook group. And my friend said, no you can be the administrator and then you can have that much control.

And I guess he is right. I could be the despotic dictator who says who can be in my group and subject them to rules depending on who they are. So friends can post anything, but people who I’m following for inspiration can’t say anything depressing (or religious) or they’re gone. Techies can’t wax lyrical about Windows 7 otherwise I’ll get bored and kick them out. And there’ll be an eclectic mix of people – techies, atheists, newspapers, academics, friends and the people who relay what’s hot right now. But they’ll have to coexist peacefully and I don’t expect to see much cross-subject discussion – this isn’t an exercise to encourage them interacting (unless they already are), nor can they complain if I get bored and get rid of someone else. And they have to be posting regularly, I want to see perhaps 200 posts a day.

But somehow I don’t think people would participate under these conditions, and even if they did that it would work as well as Twitter does. Do you?

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