Monday, 14 March 2011

Is Twitter the new Facebook?

A few years ago the craze that is ‘Facebook’ had ‘Twitter’ in its back pocket, but are times changing? Does Twitter now have the edge in this social-networking war?

You don’t have to know the name of the blue twitter bird in the company logo to see why Twitter has become so popular over the last five years since its launch in 2006. With more than 200 million users sharing over 100 million messages or ‘tweets’ a day, many have been affected by ‘tweetaholism’.

Twitter was largely involved in the recent resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, with many protestors and anti-government groups choosing to use the micro-blogging site in order to arouse support for the former president to step down. But in 2008 Egyptian youths used Facebook rather than Twitter when organising a rally of support for striking textile workers. Why has the tide now changed to Twitter rather than Facebook?

In mass-media reports e.g. those of the Middle East crisis, and in broadcasting in general Twitter is becoming much more of trend. In fact every day it does just that in publishing ‘trends’ in the UK and USA. These are hash tags at the end of ‘tweets’ which may define a topic or add humour e.g. #BlueMonday. Twitter doesn’t give away as much personal information as Facebook of course, many protests and other anti-government rallies organised via Facebook have resulted in the culprits being located or demonstrations intervened. Twitter on the other hand is much more undercover, more than 60% of its users use English. Therefore ‘tweeters’ that are not using English are very much cloak and dagger.

It even has its own language, though not literally; the site does offer many words that the average non-tweeterer wouldn’t understand. A ‘Twoosh’ for instance is a ‘tweet’ containing the maximum 140 characters allowed. Expressing yourself in only 140 characters also gives Twitter another edge on Facebook, meaning ‘tweeple’ who are ‘tweeting’ have to do so with some wittiness.

From the Mumbai attacks in 2008 to the recent earthquake in Japan, Twitter was there first to lead the media and blogosphere in breaking news. Companies are also making millions of pounds from Twitter. Not so long ago Facebook was the best way for companies to advertise their business, however now Twitter is making a splash too. Computer brand ‘Dell’ claims that Twitter helps it sell millions of pounds of gear every year via promoted tweets and trends.

And I haven’t even mentioned celebrities yet! Because that is what Twitter is all about isn’t it? Yeah, right. For the celeb-stalkers out there wanting to ‘follow’ their favourite celebrity there is a whole array of A-Z list celebrities to shake your sticks at, from Stephen Fry to Lady Gaga. And if you’re lucky they might even ‘Retweet’ your ‘tweet’ so you get a ‘mention’. Footballer Ryan Babel was fined recently for criticising a Premier League referee on Twitter – Proof that even the Football Association think Twitter is twit-tastic!

And who can forget Charlie Sheen? His demise and drug addiction has been well documented through the site with him breaking the world record of ‘the fastest person to reach a million followers’. He did so in just one day.

Twitter not only played a huge part in the Anti-government protests in Egypt but also those of Tunisia which began the initial surge within Egypt. Within months it has become an integral weapon as the Middle East dominoes into uproar. Libya could be next then maybe Bahrain and Twitter is playing a bigger part than many politicians might think.

Obviously many people can and will argue that Facebook has features that Twitter doesn’t but visa-versa. Why ‘like’ something when you can ‘trend’ something? Why waste all your time going on all your friends ‘walls’ to see their latest updates you may have missed when you can create a RSS feed or ‘list’ to see just those ‘tweets’ of your friends and family. Why have only 5000 friends when you can have unlimited? Twitter is the next big thing, the real big society, and a bloggers dream.

Why tag people in photos when you can tag the world in a revolution?

Spread and learn news the quicker way and get trending.

Join the twittersphere!