“Linkedin is for people you know. Facebook is for people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know.”
Although the author of this phrase is unknown, it gives interesting insight into how different social media networks are used for different purposes.
Kelly talked about Twitter in her first post, and how it was an effective way to have an instant connection with people anywhere in the world. Josh Constine says he likes Twitter because of how easy it is to learn about all kinds of new things and easily interact with all kinds of people:
“The Internet gave everyone a way to share. But Twitter’s character limit and real-time nature delivers us condensed, pre-filtered, ready-to-consume intelligence rather than making us hunt for it.”
This study notes that Twitter is more about conversation than identity. You can talk and connect with people by sharing your views and reading about theirs, even if you don’t use your real name. It is more about WHAT you say than WHO you are. They believe that because of this, relationships are more informal and don’t matter as much. I think this is definitely true to an extent, in that you can favourite, retweet or tweet anyone, regardless of how well you know them. But it is also a place where you really get to know people’s personalities well, through what they tweet and the conversations you have, and relationships on Twitter can become important and meaningful in this network. It is certainly true that Twitter is for people you want to know, but it also gives you the opportunity to follow and connect with these people, and turn your WANT into something you can actually HAVE.
In an earlier post, Kelly noted that as of March 2014, Facebook was still the most popular social network on the web, and it is definitely the one most suitable for people you know. On Facebook you have to set up a profile with your name and, as most people choose and as the name suggests, a picture of your face. This automatically involves you as a person, and the option to add additional information means that anyone you’re “friends” with can see these things and know a lot about you. It is different from Twitter in this way because when you follow someone on Twitter you may not know them, or they may follow you not knowing who you are, but your profile is open and you expect people you don’t know to look in, so you can end up finding a large variety of people. But with Facebook, you may not be so comfortable having people you don’t know knowing so much about you. This means Facebook largely becomes reserved as a network of people you’ve met in real life or know quite well, and is harder to expand beyond people you already know on this network.
Jenny also talked about how other social media sites are more useful places to meet people with similar interests, and one of the main sites where this occurs is Tumblr. A 2013 study found that while Facebook is still popular, Tumblr is actually slightly MORE popular with the under 25’s.
Adam Rifkin refers to Tumblr as Facebook 2.0, the Facebook young people actually want to be on.
“As Facebook has become a real-life social network infested with parents, co-workers, ex-friends, and people you barely know, Tumblr has become the place where young people express themselves and their ACTUAL INTERESTS with their ACTUAL FRIENDS”
Tumblr gives you freedom that Facebook doesn’t – you can share anything, say anything, say what you mean in GIF format and express yourself and your interests without having to tell anyone your name. Alternatively, you can share everything about yourself, and your interests, and form friendships with people who have the same interests as you. It is an easy way to blog, and a place to freely share thoughts and ideas, where Facebook seems to be more formal, more private, a way to keep your image up with people around you, when Tumblr lets you ignore formality and post as you please.
Less known and used than these 3 main websites, but still offering a network on which to connect with friends is Snapchat. Nick Bilton believes its popularity is in how quick and simple it is. People in the 21st century are impatient, and Snapchat requires little effort to send and receive content. It also allows more “humanness”, because once sent, the snaps never get to be seen again:
“And when you can throw things away, you can have more fun….. This also affords a feeling of something being personal: for a few people, not for everyone.”
Friendships on this network can be interesting. And what is different, unlike Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, is that you can choose which of your friends gets to see something. If you take a selfie, you might only feel comfortable sending that to your really close friends, but a picture of your dog may go to everyone. The people who did not receive the first picture don’t have to know, so friendships are more manageable on this network. I would argue, however, unlike the other three networks, that it is not a great place to make new friends. Although you have to approve them, random strangers can access your Snapchat and send you pictures, but the short length of these interactions and the difficulty of a quick reply make it harder to learn much about someone. It is more of a way to keep people you already know amused and updated on your life.
All these social networks offer a service for friendship and connection, but they all have their different strengths and weaknesses which gives them all a purpose. This is why although Tumblr may be growing amongst young people, Facebook is still just as popular with them. Friendships connect differently in different networks, but this means it is easier to find the people you want to find. If you want to learn about people you know, use Facebook. If you want to learn and connect with your choice of a wide variety of people, use Twitter. If you are young and want to find people who share your interests in a fun way, try Tumblr. If you want to be silly with your friends, use Snapchat. And there are many more social networks I haven’t mentioned. When it comes to making and keeping friends in social networks, the possibilities are endless.