The internet has radically changed our world over the last two decades. But no internet technology has arguably been as impactful as the social media. It is hard to imagine an aspect of our personal and professional lives that has not been affected by the social media. When we think of social media, the first two names that usually come to mind are Facebook and Twitter. While both companies may have played a great role in revolutionizing the social media platform, they are not exactly similar to each other. While there may be some similarities between Facebook and Twitter, the differences between the two social media giants probably exceed in number. But despite sharing both similarities and differences, both Twitter and Facebook are committed to the mission of open communication and free flow of information.

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One of the similarities between Facebook and Twitter is that they allow the users to share posts and news articles. Twitter and Facebook have become major sources of news for many Americans because people tend to read the news articles that might have been shared by friends or the personalities they may be following. Thus, it is not surprise that the social media has attracted criticism in the wake of the recent presidential election for allowing fake news to spread and influence the behavior of the potential voters. While Facebook and Twitter may consider themselves social media companies only, some feel Facebook and Twitter have essentially become media companies. One of the unique characteristics of Facebook and Twitter is their role in promote citizen journalism in which the citizens have become the original source of news. This is, especially, true in some turbulent parts of the world where there is restriction on press or there is lack of established journalism infrastructure.

Facebook and Twitter also share a similarity in being major marketing platforms. Both Facebook and Twitter allow companies to build profiles and reach their followers. The companies not only interact with their customers and users through Facebook and Twitter but also buy ads to promote their products to existing and potential customers. Facebook and Twitter have such great marketing power that many customers have gotten immediate responses on the social media for disappointing product or service experience. The companies understand prompt and satisfying response to the customer on the social media can go a long way towards enhancing brand goodwill just as the failure to respond may yield significant negative publicity. Facebook and Twitter earn most of their revenues through advertising that further confirms the fact that both social media giants are major marketing platforms for the companies. In addition to for-profit companies, Facebook and Twitter are also used by non-profit organizations to promote their cause, and for individuals like the celebrities and the politicians to promote their personal brand.

While Facebook and Twitter do share similarities, their differences arguably exceed in number. One of the major differences between Facebook and Twitter is the nature of the relationship between the people who are connected to each other. Facebook primarily focuses on the connections between friends, family members, and acquaintances while Twitter focuses on the connections between the individual personalities and their followers. Thus, the relationship between Facebook users tends to be more personal in nature on the average than the relationship between the Twitter users. In other words, the likelihood of the connected users on Facebook to know each other in the real world is higher than the likelihood of the Twitter users to know each other in the real world.

One difference between Twitter and Facebook is the existence of virtual communities on Facebook that do not exist on Twitter. There are many social communities on Facebook that have been built around common interests and hobbies. These hobbies and interests may be as varied as comic books, perfumes, liberal politics, and cars. These social communities on Facebook may be open or closed. These communities are not much different from social groups in the real world where people gather around shared interests or hobbies. The nature of the Twitter’s social media platform does not support such communities. Thus, Facebook attracts users who want to find other people with similar interests or point-of-views.

Facebook and Twitter also differ in the nature and number of functionalities they offer to the users. While Facebook allows the users to do almost everything one can do on Twitter such as following people, sharing posts, and sharing news articles, Twitter users cannot do all the things Facebook users can do. Some of the features exclusive to Facebook include using different kind of apps, playing video games, and making posts that are not limited to 140 characters. Similarly, it is not uncommon for people to sell and buy items on Facebook. Facebook recently created marketplace that makes it easier to reach local buyers and sellers. Thus, it is not hard to understand why there are more people on Facebook than there are people on Twitter and why people tend to spend more time on Facebook than they do on Twitter. Facebook simply offers more features to its users than Twitter and, thus, is more effective at keeping the users engaged.

Facebook and Twitter also differ in the kind of users they attract and who are actively engaged with these two respective social media platforms. A quick look at Facebook and Twitter does give the impression that Facebook’s users are more diverse in terms of age group, education attainment level, economic background, and social background. Facebook’s interface is more intuitive and easier to use which also plays to its advantage. In addition, many users join Facebook to connect with people they know or to find long-lost contacts. In contrast, the Twitter users usually join to get news or share ideas, often with people they don’t know and whom they may never meet in life. Thus, the personal nature of the Facebook makes it more appealing to the average person. It is not uncommon for us to know someone whose grandparents are also on Facebook while the same cannot be said about Twitter that may come across as quite boring to an average grandparent.

Social media has become an important part of our daily lives, and Facebook and Twitter are two of the most widely known social media platforms. While Facebook and Twitter share certain similarities, the differences between them are greater. The similarities between Facebook and Twitter include the ability of the users to share posts and articles. In addition, both Facebook and Twitter are major marketing platforms that can be utilized to market products and services as well as promote personal and organizational brands. As far as the differences are concerned, the connected users on Facebook are more likely to know each other in the real world as opposed to the connected users on Twitter. Similarly, Facebook supports virtual communities which do not exist on Twitter. Facebook offers more functionalities than Twitter which has helped Facebook attract greater number of users. Last but not least, the user base on Facebook is more diverse than Twitter in terms of age group, economic background, social background, and education attainment level.