The classism in Social Networks (Facebook vs Twitter)
June 13, 2011 § 5 Comments
Whether you like it on not, the social networks are here to stay. I recall many, many years ago when folks resisted buying cell phones because they thought that it would make them too accessible. Then times moved and they realized that they needed to have them. Now you just try taking their cell phones from them and you’ll get a clap faster than Kanye West can grab a microphone from Taylor Swift.
Those who cannot accept these truths to be self-evident are doomed to be sidelined and will be left in the dark ages of the 90s. I am always amused by how those who don’t participate try to look down on us who do as if we don’t have lives. If only they knew that our lives are far richer and busier than they have ever been, precisely because of these of the social networks they look down on. But this is not what I wanted to scribble about. I want to write about the classism on these social networks. But before that happens, let me go through some numbers.
According to Facebook, there are 3,485,800 South Africans on Facebook. That’s fewer than 10% of us on it, yet it’s influence is far greater than the number of people on it. Unfortunately Twitter stats aren’t as easy to come by, and the ones that we can access aren’t very recent. However, according to SA Twitter Report by Fuseware, in March this year (2010), there were some 55 000 people who tweetered at least once a month. The number of people on Twitter is far less than those on Facebook. But I would be so bold as to claim that Twitter is even more influential than Facebook.
This year, Time Magazine named the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year. (I still think the title should have gone to Steve Jobs, just because of the iPad alone.) Facebook by the numbers per minute: There are 510 404 comments per minute. There are 231 605 messages sent every 60 seconds. In total, there some 1 789 736 actions performed on the site by it’s more than 500 million users every 60 seconds. Facebook has 700 status update per second. Twitter, with less than half the users has a staggering 600 updates per second. And this is where the classism comes in.
You see, Twitter users think that they are better than Facebook users. They believe that they are smarter, sassier, get news faster. In fact, by the time Twitter users stop discussing a breaking story, Facebook users are only starting to find out about it. At least a lot of the time. As a joke, I once wrote on Twitter and said Facebook is like Zuma, one with the masses, and that Twitter was like Mbeki, a bit a elitist and a little difficult to understand.
Someone once wrote that Facebook is for people you went to school with. Twitter is for people you wish you went to high school with. Naturally, that was written on Twitter. I like to make fun of Facebook too, not because there is anything wrong with it, it’s just fun to make fun of it. That’s about it.
The platforms really serve two different functions. It’s like calling an iPad an iPhone. You won’t know what they are for unless you use them. Unfortunately, some people who use them don’t really know how to use them differently. They use them as though they are one and the same thing.
But I have to admit, Twitter is better than Facebook. Facebook is like that uncle who was hip in the 80s and he still thinks he’s hip now. Maybe Facebook is like visiting that family you don’t really want to visit but visit because you have to.
Twitter on the hand has brought the world even closer. It has made people and opportunities that may have been inaccessible before, accessible. Twitter is basically #winning