Facebook vs. Twitter | Speech & Debate

Most people waste their time on one or the other. So, which is better: Facebook or Twitter?

Most people waste their time on one or the other. So, which is better: Facebook or Twitter?

FACEBOOK

Let me start off by saying—nay, insisting—that I don’t favor Russian bots trying to influence our elections or approve of the selling of the essence of lives by data collectors. I’m not real fond of argumentative political memes turning up on my phone or computer, either, nor do I find it interesting to read a multitude of ads masquerading as “sponsored” postings.

But, other than that, Facebook is the kind of social media that often is pretty cool. That’s saying something in a world where “cool” usually means something different, depending upon the ages of the people calling it “cool.” Facebook seems to span generations. OK, older people probably find it most fascinating at this point, but our grandchildren no doubt like it when they see their pictures posted on it.

Facebook is especially fun if users stay true to its initial purpose—”connecting friends and families,” says founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg—and use it as a foundation for focusing on the more recent and formal mission statement Zuckerberg adopted late last year, “developing the social infrastructure for community.”

All that latter verbiage is pretty serious-sounding. Indeed, the business of staying safe while we’re socializing with hundreds of friends—even electronically—certainly is serious business. And putting the experience of communicating online with so many others into perspective—keeping it in balance with what is going on in “real” life—is the key to enjoying any social media. We can’t let it take over our lives—just reflect our lives.

Let’s face it, many of us have far too many “friends” on Facebook—more than we would need or could even maintain in our go-to-work and run-the-errands lives. There wouldn’t be time for hundreds or even dozens of “close” friends. On Facebook, keeping the connection with a multitude is as simple as tapping out a few words and finishing it with a click. Besides, isn’t there something special about being able to wish a bunch of people happy birthday each morning, even if Facebook has to remind us who is celebrating that particular day? It just seems, well, friendly.

Isn’t it reassuring to have friends? Mixed with the current friends on my account are friends from long ago—high school and college—with whom I lost touch and became reacquainted through Facebook. Without such social media as Facebook, I might never have reconnected with some of the classmates, nor am I likely to have maintained whatever minor relationship had developed in person at some 40th or 50th school reunion.

No, if you live in towns separated by states, it takes goofy-looking grade school graduation pictures or long forgotten team basketball photos—posted on Facebook for friends to “like”—to keep aging teammates in contact.

Some naysayers would claim that a vast amount of silliness is what fuels Facebook. Items of real news are more likely to be found on Twitter—albeit expressed in a restricted number of characters—or other more serious venues of social media. That’s probably true.

But, while I’m a news junkie and I’ll keep my Twitter account, even I sometimes want to leave natural disasters, political issues, sports races and other assorted mayhem behind me so I can focus on more mundane things.

I want to congratulate friends for their new jobs and homes, for example. I like to hear when someone is having a great time on his vacation. I want to console people when they bury a loved one or lose a family pet. I need to hear when a person I know is having a health problem, otherwise how would I know when to offer to help?

Granted, a lot of what we see on Facebook is small stuff. But, nobody is forcing us to watch the videos and pictures we post on Facebook showing serene ocean scenes, favored entrees in restaurants and funny pet antics. We can look closely at what captures our attention, “like” a little of it, encourage our friends whenever they need the support and then move on to more interesting items whenever we want. That’s pretty much how life works.

—Gary Brown

TWITTER

Think of social media like food. Twitter is the way to digest small servings of news, weather, sports, our wonderfully wacky president and general pithiness. Who doesn’t like a serving or two of pithiness?

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Sum it up, people. Get in, get out, move on.

Half the fun of Twitter is admiring the way users capture a thought in 140 characters or fewer. Forget that 280-character garbage. Less is more. Purists adhere to 140. People who use 280 characters on Twitter are probably the same people who prefer Double Stuff Oreos and movie sequels.

Perfection often rests with the original.

Twitter: short, sweet, satisfying.

Sure, Facebook is OK for wishing someone a happy birthday or viewing the latest happy cat video or celebrating a family milestone, but really, Facebook is like a bag of potato chips: empty calories, and you’re always binging. You read and read and read, and more and more time is sucked from your day. For what? You never get to the bottom of the bag, and all you feel is bloated.

Here’s the reason Twitter is better (and in only 126 characters!): Facebook is the junk food of social media. It tastes good and you crave it, but it’s bad for your health. Go lean. Go Twitter.

—Rich Desrosiers

THE VERDICT
We’re taking our own side this month and voting for Instagram. While Gary mumbled on about Facebook—as many people on Facebook do—and Rich kept it short and sweet as Twitter users should, we were too distracted by all the beautiful photos on Instagram. It’s the place to be if you want to steer clear of memes, fake news and being tagged in embarrassing photos from high school.