A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across this question posed by a marketing professor: Is #Facebook better than #Twitter???

Instantly, I tweeted a reply: I think they are different. Each has their (its) own function.

His response: Yes!

Apart from the invisible pat on the back I gave myself, the question made me think about something I had always taken for granted. Debate has always raged on about which social media platform would be more effective in reaching the public and which platform would eventually rule the world. Personally, I’ve always thought that question was moot.

An info graphic by digital surgeons made a comparison on the statistics for Facebook and Twitter in 2010. At first glance, you would think that Facebook is definitely ahead of Twitter. It has 500 million total users as compared to Twitter’s 106 million users. 40% of Facebook users follow a brand as compared to Twitter’s 25%.

But wait… while 51% of Facebook followers will purchase that specific brand, 67% of Twitter followers will do so. 12% of Facebook followers tend to update their statuses every day, but 30% of Twitter followers post daily updates. What this would seem to imply is that while Facebook has more users, Twitter users are more engaged with both the platform and brands and also more likely to make a purchase.

While all these statistics prove interesting fodder for both detractors of Facebook or Twitter, they are in my opinion somewhat irrelevant. Facebook and Twitter operate in very different ways. While Facebook boosts a wide range of functions from chat, to video, to status updates and photo uploads, among many others, Twitter is basically a micro blogging platform. Facebook allows the individual to create their own personal social space online to have conversations and share their lives in a more intimate way. Twitter, on the other hand, allows the user a much wider reach, to share ideals or comments and simply to network.

One isn’t better than the other, they both exist to serve different social needs.

This post was first published in Incite People’s HR blog.


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