Twitter vs. Facebook – The WIIFM Wars

Hubby and I were having a great conversation over breakfast for dinner tonight. It all started with Gary Vay-ner-chuk, and his chime in the other day about Twitter vs. Facebook. In his video post, he talks about how apps like Facebook need to become more immediate and instantaneous or they are going to be eclipsed by the Twitters of the world.

These are great ideas and I think Gary has it bang on. But he really got me thinking about why this shift needs to occur. And what I think it comes down to is WIIFM (pronounced “Wiff-umm”). What’s In It For Me? Here’s my theory.

When I first started using Facebook about 6 months or so ago (that’s like 3 years in Interweb time), I thought it was just the greatest, most fantastic use of the Internet I’d ever seen. I reconnected with elementary and highschool friends whom I had not spoken to in 22 years. I found former colleagues, and discovered what they had been doing with their time since we’d last spoken. It really was as if a whole new world had opened up for me. I mean, who ever thought I would get to (or want to!) talk to my first boyfriend ever again? I certainly didn’t. The fact is, at that time, I was getting something out of it. It was entertaining, like a virtual highschool reunion that never stopped. Every day someone else would come to the party and that would make it even more fun.

But you know what? Eventually, I found every old friend and acquaintance I would ever want to be reconnected with. And the novelty, frankly, has started to wear off. And I’m not alone. I’ve noticed lately that of my 200-and some friends, only about 15% of them actually still post regular updates.

You know what? Facebook…I’m just not that into you anymore. WIIFM, after I find all my old friends? Not a whole lot, I’m afraid.

In terms of actual networking, well, I’ve never really used Facebook for that. Sure, some of my social media pals are also my FB friends, but it’s almost like it’s just common courtesy…well, I’m subscribed to your blog, I follow you on Twitter, so I may as well be your FB friend too, right?

So what is the WIIFM factor with Twitter? Well, as @garyvee says, it’s immediate, instantaneous. All Twitter wants to know is what I am doing RIGHT NOW. (Hmmm, Eckhart Tolle would be impressed!). The social network is shifting. People are becoming interested only in who is at the party now, not who was there yesterday or last week. They don’t want to see that video you made last weekend, they want to see the Qik interview you are doing with Robert Scoble in an elevator right now. They want to get your latest Utterz that you recorded on your subway ride home. In a sense, they want to be in your life as it happens.

The value of Twitter over Facebook is clear. Twitter has the ability to stand the test of time, because by its very nature, it is changing and adapting to its environment all the time, but it’s the community who is doing it, not the developers. @zefrank’s Color Wars and @bedtime stories are clear indications of that, as are the power of the Twitterverse when it comes ruling events like SXSW and Podcamp Toronto.

I think the question really is, is Facebook ready to adapt on the same level as Twitter?

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