The difference between Facebook and Twitter

danah boyd (she doesn’t use capitals), (who is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, a Visting Researcher at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales) has written an interesting piece comparing the ways teenagers use Facebook and Twitter. Entitled Tweeting teens can handle public life, boyd says

Twitter gives its users two settings: make tweets readable to all, or only to a selected group. A surprising number of teens choose the latter, culling a carefully chosen collection of real-life friends and family members. Even for teens who keep their tweets public – like the overwhelming majority of adult users – Twitter seems smaller and more intimate than Facebook. In an age where virtually every young person has a Facebook account, many teens are “friends” with hundreds of classmates, as there’s heavy social pressure to accept friend requests from people they know. Twitter’s more casual approach to “following” means teens can choose to follow only their friends without too much recrimination. In North Carolina, 17-year-old Manu summarises this sentiment: “I guess Facebook is like yelling it out to a crowd, and then Twitter is just like talking in a room.”

To teens, Twitter and Facebook have different purposes. Matthew, another 17-year-old from North Carolina, told us: “On Facebook, if someone writes their emotions every five minutes, it’s just obnoxious.” Since it’s normal to have 600 friends, if one of them posts constant status updates, it potentially drowns out more important or interesting messages. Matthew and his friends call this “blowing up your news feed” and it’s looked down upon. But on Twitter, it’s perfectly OK to talk about the meal you just ate, or the moment-to-moment sadness you feel, because the site encourages such minutia – and you can always unfollow someone if they tweet too much.

Read the entire article here.

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