1. Connections - Its much easier to add connections (followers) on Twitter. With a click you can see 30 or more followers of any one person and by reading a Tweet or two, determine whether you want to follow them (and often, by custom, they will automatically follow you... opening up exponential connecting opportunities amongst respective followers). Additionally, Tweeps don't have to ask for permission to follow someone, its automatic with no approval process. Typically, Facebook friends know each other in real life... this is not the case on Twitter.
  2. Security – Twitter doesn't breed the same security and privacy concerns that are associated with Facebook and the Facebook platform. Tweeps only post one photo, often an icon, or representative image rather than themselves, and a very short bio with a link. Facebook openly encourages you to share as much about yourself as possible and encourages the use of applications that want to grab as much personal information about you as possible.
  3. Interface – The Twitter user interface could hardly be easier to use: quick hit posts or micro or mini blogs, a quick glance at other Tweets, and you're out. Facebook is increasingly heavy and cluttered: a myriad of applications, information feeds, photos, ads, etc.... one is left wondering where to look. I have no clue where my “Wall” is anymore, and I now find it stressful to look at Facebook as there's simply too much to digest, and I can no longer do it at a glance.
  4. Big brother – Facebook's ownership and management has made conspicuous effort to get tough with its members in recent months. Rather than listen, read or watch what users want, Facebook had decided to do what it wants, in spite of its users. Recently there was the infamous new Terms of Service that implicitly said, “Screw you guys, we'll do what we want with YOUR content.” Follow that up with recent changes to the interface despite massive outcries and user complaints, and Facebook has taken on a reputation of being a bullying 'big brother'... and some members have started deleting their accounts.
  5. Applications – There are thousands of Facebook applications, but so many of them serve little or no value, are frequently invasive, if not down right abusive. I have no interest in chomping vampires, finding out “what kind of sandle” I am (are you frickin' kidding me?!), or surrendering my soul for a cheap IQ test, let alone selling all of my personal information for free. Twitter applications are fewer and far-between, but can be tremendously helpful. Tweetdeck is a god-send to Twitter, its founders, and users – it has quadrupled the Twitter experience for highly active Tweeps (ask anyone who uses it). Those that operate multiple Twitter accounts swear by the Twhirl application; and the Tweetpic is now taking Twittersville by storm.

There's another key differentiator: people "join" Facebook, but they "use" Twitter. That's not to say that people don't "use" Facebook, but most are passive members that check the site when they get a note or a friend invite, or once-in-a-while to see what people are doing. Twitter's community however is extraordinarily active -- the average Tweep is on the site several times per day (or using an application that connects to the site). So while Facebook will continue to have a larger membership, Twitter will grow at a faster rate, but will be far more heavily used. Additionally, the mobile use of Tweeps who Tweet from their PDA will begin to skyrocket and far eclipse anything Facebook has ever seen from mobile users.

Facebook is great social networking, but Twitter is more viral, and better used -- it will overtake Facebook someday soon....


Toby Ward is an Internet & intranet consultant, writer and speaker, and the Founder of Prescient Digital Media. Feel free to look him up on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @tobyward.

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