For Social Media Viewing, Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR
Posted by Rant4u
When you follow someone on Twitter, you see everything they post. When you follow someone on Facebook, it decides what you see. Which is right? I’d say both, and it comes down to the live TV versus DVR personalities of each service.
Should Facebook Show Everything?
The issue of Facebook deciding what to show people in their Facebook news feed came up this week when Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote about how over the past year, the engagement on his posts had dropped, despite his having gained a huge increase in Facebook followers.
That echoed concerns from Star Trek alum and social media extraordinaire George Takei, who last year was alarmed that his Facebook engagement was down. He wondered, as Bilton did, if this was perhaps something Facebook was doing to get him and others to pay for better visibility. Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, also got in on the criticisms last year.
I used to be in the “Facebook should show everything” camp. For example, when the Subscribe feature (now called Follow) launched in 2011, I wished it was available for Facebook Pages, not just for people, so that the visibility of content from those pages didn’t feel so out-of-control for the publisher.
As I wrote:
If someone wants to follow a publication or website on Facebook, they shouldn’t have to hope that they’re not going to miss content they may want to see, because Facebook decided something wasn’t important enough to show.
Since then, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want Facebook to show me everything in the same way that Twitter does. Moreover, even though Twitter shows me everything, I don’t actually see everything. Time to unpack the TV metaphors.
The “Live TV” Of Twitter
When you follow accounts on Twitter, everything they post flows into your Twitter timeline. You’re going to see it all. Twitter’s not sitting behind the scenes trying to decide what non-paid tweets it thinks are more important and should be shown nor what should be held back. In short, Twitter’s not trying to separate out the signal from the noise.
That’s not to say that “noise” is bad. Twitter, to me, is like having a TV on in the background while I work. I glance to it from time to time, and if something big or important happens, I look up and pay attention. Read More
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