Twitter vs. Facebook

March 11, 2020 at 6:53 pm (By Amba) ()

I’ve written about the contrast before—I think I said “Facebook is a place, Twitter is a stream”—and had plenty to say about Facebook, both bad and good. But I did what I said I wouldn’t do—swapped one social medium for another—and now I know Twitter better than I did then. Way too better. Thanks to my grim fixation on political and (actual) viral news, as I fell asleep this morning Twitter graphics danced in front of my eyes. Time to take a break. (Wanna bet?)

This is my sadder-but-no-wiser take on it, from my journal.

Twitter is addictive in a different way than Facebook. It’s like having your finger on the hot pulse of the hyperventilating culture—what others are thinking, talking, and obsessing about RIGHT NOW. NOW. NOW. It’s very, very, very up-to-the-moment. You can ignore most of the crap (or, conversely, stare at it in incredulous horror) and pan its fast-flowing stream for nuggets of urgent information, breaking news, meaning-making, and wit. Everything is rushed there hot off the . . . anvil of the instant. Reality strikes its blow, and a tweet is coined, or a shower of them. “The presses” are cold by comparison, ordinary news media often scrambling to bring up the rear.


  1. Heidi Gucinski Menocal said,

    I am glad I have been resisting Twitter. After reading your post, I will continue to avoid it.

  2. hkatz said,

    I think for both there’s this “emotion fuel.” Like, if you want to be angry, you can find an endless supply of things to make you feel angry. Or self-righteous, superior, horrified, etc. I know that some ppl. limit their interactions to happier or more fulfilling things, but maybe they’re in the minority.

  3. amba12 said,

    Great observation and term, “emotion fuel.” A place to gather dry kindling for whatever fire warms your blood.

    I’m old-fashioned. I’m into impassioned reason and despairing wit, not outrage. I live alone and use social media mostly for human contact, exchange of ideas and information, and funny/touching cat (and dog, giraffe, ferret, elephant, etc.) videos. I like to read serious long reads and post links to and quote from them. When I am one of the many people staring at my phone on the subway, I’m usually doing exactly what I used to do when it was a paper magazine or newspaper in my hands.

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