Friday, June 26, 2009

Welcome Facebook friends

If you just found this from Facebook, welcome!

We're taking a look in this blog about all the little scattered pieces of you that exist across the Internet. Let's take a look at Facebook: you can find me there at Yep, another URL to keep track of.

What's the difference between Twitter (which we looked at yesterday) and Facebook? Well, lots, actually. To start with, Facebook appears to be a much more ambitous effort. Facebook's mission is:
Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Contrast this with Twitter's stated purpose:
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"
These differing views of the social world are certainly reflected in the applications themselves. Facebook is really trying to build an expansive edifice with one's social graph as the foundation, with varying degrees of success. Twitter is more of a lean, mean, communicating machine. Twitter is about asymmetric "I follow you" relationships, while Facebook is primarily about symmetric "we are friends" relationships (although that seems to be shifting lately).

I use both services for different purposes, which I think is the natural extrapolation of the fundamental relationship models. I'm pretty protective of who I let into my circle of friends on Facebook and pretty much restrict membership to people I have offline relationships with. I'm not looking to make friends on Facebook, but rather to strengthen or enrich existing friendships.

Many people hook up their accounts so that when they post something to Twitter it automatically shows up as a Facebook status update. I've chosen not to do that because I really treat them as separate channels with separate audiences. I tend to share more personal information and edit myself a bit more when I share a status update on Facebook vs. a tweet. It's the difference between being on stage and being in a small room with family and friends.

Anyway, let's put a thumbtack up on the online identity map: "Facebook". We still have many more territories to visit.

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