The Wednesday U.S. presidential election proved that a face-off looms between social media networking sites Facebook or Twitter similar to the tight battle between Democrat candidates Barack Obama and Republican bet Mitt Romney.
The cyberworld's reaction to Mr Obama's win shows the extent that Twitter and Facebook has influenced politics. Mr Obama's tweet that he won broke Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber's previous Twitter record. However, a post in both social media portals showing the first couple embracing and with the message "Four more years" generated more than 3 million Facebook likes and 600,000 Twitter shares.
Mr Obama's no stranger to both social media sites as he had used Facebook and Twitter in his 2008 campaign which led to his first-term win.
Facebook's entry to the cyber world led to dimunition of late 1990s social network sites including the once popular Friendster.
Facebook was launched in February 2004 and founded by Mark Zuckerberg together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. The social website allows a user to register and create personal profile about himself or an organization. The user can add other users as friends and exchange messages via online chat or as offline instant messaging which can viewed once the recipient has logged in.
Some of Facebook's other features online flash games, news feed, posting and sharing, voice and video calling, live chat, applications, applications shared by other applications, facebook subscribe, and file sharing via upload of media like photos and videos.
As of October 2012, Facebook as 1 billion active users or roughly one-sixth of the global headcount, making it the most popular social media site in the world.
Another social networking service was created in March 2006 and launched in July called Twitter. Jack Dorsey is the creator of the current fastest growing media microblogging website that uses short messages called tweets. So far, Twitter has 500 million active user as of April 2012 and many are them are celebrities, famous personality, politicians, and artists.
It is half of Facebook's, but at the rate it is growing, the face-off between the two would be as interesting as the results of the recent U.S. presidential election.
Many users of Facebook also have Twitter accounts, and vice-versa, although Twitter users tend to be younger.
Twitter and Facebook differentiated
- Content: Facebook and Twitter can post messages or status in their Web sites which will be displayed live. Facebook can go on from instant to the eventual time because of the connections within set of friends in the user's list and the notification in the news feed. By now, a user can set the post to be viewed in different audiences like friends only, friends of friends only or public. The post can also be shared by someone who can view the user's news feed.
In Twitter, the technique is the tweeting similar to the bird's chatter. Once a user posts, his followers can view this new tweet immediately as if it was a live chat, then the followers of those followers will see it as well, spreading the news faster and instantly. The drawback is it may only last for one to a few hours because tweets come continuously within the group of followers and the ones being followed. It taps pyramiding principles used by multilevel marketing groups.
- Connection: Twitter doesn't take much on the social relationship levels. It is more like giving access to users to follow their interests and hobbies to the individuals in the site. If a celebrity has a Twitter account, all of the fans can follow him or her with all of the activities he/she will tweet. So there is no adding of friends or invitation, simply follow or unfollow the user. In Facebook, relation is important for privacy matters. Close circle individuals may view or share post and even write a post into the user's page. This shows the relation between individuals in Facebook. Strangers can be blocked but the block may be reversed once they are added to the user's friend list.
- Duration of information: Updates are really important and hold the key in social media content. Facebook and Twitter have timeless content in their pages. But the difference is Twitter tweet function makes update faster for those who want to spread a breaking info. In Facebook, it's posted as a content and remains until readers view it, so timing isn't that too essential.
- Privacy: While hacking can be done to all Web sites no matter how technology improves because hackers improve as well, Facebook profiles are common mediums of poser profiles or fake ones. Facebook members may use usernames but this can be edited and adding a user in the site requires one of the three things, a username, the full name, or the email address. While email addresses have security on their own, anyone can create an email with fake info and then create a fake profile of a celebrity. In Twitter, aside from the email, username is the ID of the user in the Web site. So if a celebrity has a tweeter account and he publicly gave out this tweeter user ID, fans are sure that is his profile, obviously displayed at the site when followed.
How do I use Twitter?
Facebook users should not frantic about Twitter's difference with other social media sites because of the conventional live chat, offline message, private message, or posting. There is only one thing the site knows, Tweet! With text + photo/video or just plain text, it's a Tweet. To post a tweet:
1. Go to the Web site and then register by filling in the form similar to other social sites.
2. Once accepted, you can use the tabs in the upper part of the Web site. It includes Home, @Connect, #Discover, and Me which is your profile.
3. @Connect allows the user to connect between Interactions (followers) and mentions which are direct conversations between the user's followers and which the user is following. This is the counterpart of the live chat except it's a Tweet which means it is seen interactively.
4. #Discover is where the user could search for the ones he wants to be updated with. Ones found, click Follow and the account holder will see their Tweets in his page.
5. Me is the user's profile and Tweets posted by the followers and people being followed to. These tweets can extend up to followers' follower. Here is where the profile could be edited, with more details and profile picture added.
Technology world observers said Facebook never considered Twitter a strong competitor that Facebook Director Peter Thiel once joked that if a bomb was thrown at Twitter's headquarters at 6 p.m., no one would be hurt because everyone would have left the building by then.
However, Facebook apparently felt the threat from Twitter this year that Mr Zuckerberg bought Instagram which is also become another cyberworld phenomenon.