Knowing the Difference between Facebook and Other Social Sites
Several social sites besides Facebook try to help people connect. In some cases, these sites have slightly different goals than Facebook. LinkedIn, for example, is a tool for connecting with people specifically for career networking. MySpace is a way for people to connect to lots of people outside their real-world experience, especially for people to connect with their favorite musicians and bands. Match.com is a social networking site specifically geared toward people looking to date. Alternatively, other sites have the same goals as Facebook; they just have different strategies.
Eight hundred million people use Facebook, but not all of them can see your whole Profile. You can share as much or as little with as many or as few people as you so desire. Put under lock and key the parts of your Profile you don’t want to share with everyone.
What to know the difference between Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter? There are graduate students across the globe writing theses on this particular topic. Needless to say, it’s a tough question to answer in a paragraph or casual conversation, so anything you read here is a gross generalization and subject to opinion:
Use Facebook to communicate with family and friends. Originally, Facebook was created as a way for students at a particular college or university to find and connect with each another. In fact, when Facebook launched, only those people with a verified college e-mail address were permitted to sign up.
After a few years of being that site for college kids, Facebook knocked down its walls and invited everyone to sign up. Now, Facebook Nation is 800 million strong and growing every day the world over. This means that all sorts of different people are using Facebook with all sorts of different goals in mind.
MySpace has its origins as a tool for local bands to promote their music. Because many people love music, many people flocked to MySpace in order to connect with their favorite musical artists. A key rule of advertising is to go where the people are, and because so many people were going to MySpace, other businesses and celebrities got involved to garner public attention as well. To this day, MySpace is still oriented toward the relationships between people and media and people and celebrities. The site is designed in a way to make it maximally easy for popular figures to achieve wide distribution and large audiences, or even for everyday Janes and Joes to become popular figures.
LinkedIn is a tool geared to help people connect primarily for business purposes. LinkedIn users try to connect with as many people as they can so that if and when they need a new job or they’re looking for someone to hire, they can flip through a vast network of friends and friends of friends to find a reliable lead. People can write and request letters of recommendation for one another, and often recruiters reach out to LinkedIn users whether they’re actively looking for a job or not.
Twitter allows people to engage in real-time sharing. Whenever a Twitter member has something interesting to share, he blasts out some text, 140 characters or fewer, that everyone who is following him has the option to see. The Twitter post is actually very similar to a Facebook Status Update. What differentiates Twitter from Facebook is its extreme simplicity and single focus on real-time exchange of ideas. Facebook is a place where you build longstanding relationships with people; you have access to their static content like their phone numbers and photos; you can message them privately or interact with them through groups and events. Twitter is a place where your friends (and anyone else) find out the information you’re sharing at any given time, and vice versa. Popular uses of Twitter are link sharing for interesting websites and news, short opinions about current events, and enabling people to meet up when two people are out and about at the same time.