Thursday, July 12, 2012
Twitter is The City, Facebook is The Burbs. Your opinion?
I was cogitating about blogging on "Shysters on Twitter", because there seems to be as many two-bit hustlers on Twitter as there are legitimate Tweeps. Not surprising: the open platform simply lends itself to that. I've also heard several folks say in passing that Twitter is low-life, and even dangerous, and that users risk getting the online equivalent of STDs by hanging out there. I can see how someone could feel that way - particularly someone on the outside looking in. I chalk it up to "fear of the unknown".
Then it occurred to me that Twitter, as an environment and as an ecosystem, is somewhat like "The Big City". It's all there: sinners, pimps, hookers, schlock-peddlers, and hustlers all mixed in with evangelists, how-to doctors, humorists, authors, celebrities, businessmen, healers, and folks just generally having fun with social networking. If you walked 10 blocks on Broadway or any big city street you would see much of the same. It can be a little scary, it can be exhilarating, or both.
Of course I couldn't help but compare the Twitter experience to Facebook, which is really the suburbs to Twitter's big city. On Facebook, the user defines the environment, and the interaction is more like a conversation in a neighbor's kitchen. The no-character limit allows for thoughtful exchange, vs. someone blurting something out in a crowded crosswalk.
They are both social networks, often mentioned in the same breath (usually with Linked-In which to me is like the online version of Rotary Club. Oh and what was that other one...MySpace?), yet they are so different. I haven't seen any statistics that illustrate how many FB users are also Twitter users - I'm sure they exist - but in my experience folks from the Burbs are often scared to death of the Big City, and Big City folks are bored to death in the Burbs.
How would you characterize the differences in a metaphorical fashion? Does Big City vs. The Burbs work for you or is there a better metaphor?
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That's all for now, kids. This is de Limboman, signing off from Limboland!