Mirror Mirror on the Wall, which social network is best to study breaking news on?
Over on Twitter we're having quite a debate. Started with this tweet by Lauren Lockliear: https://twitter.com/LaurenLockliear/status/499997133446328320
Which links to this article: https://medium.com/message/ferguson-is-also-a-net-neutrality-issue-6d2f3db51eb0
Which then drew in Anthony De Rosa, who is editor in chief of Circa (a great news app). https://twitter.com/AntDeRosa
Then the debate went crazy. Which system is better than the other for breaking news.
I say Facebook. He says Twitter. I get where he is coming from.
After all, if you have Twitter scrolling down the screen using either the Twitter app (I use the Mac one) or a good third-party app, like Hootsuite (which is what Anthony uses) then you'll see everything in real time, right?
OK, let me take a deep breath and unpack several of the issues that came up here (see the original article linked to on this post over on Medium).POINT ONE:
Filters suck, they keep people from seeing the news over on Facebook.
That is both true and not true. On MY screen I'm seeing almost nothing BUT Ferguson discussed. Why? Because I have friended people who bring me great news. I have those people in lists. For instance, I have 534 tech journalists in this list on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lists/10150896044944655
I have a similar list over on Twitter, with 657 tech news folks: https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/tech-news-people
So I can compare both all day long.
I also have a list of Major News outlets on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/world-news-brands
) and I follow a similar news list on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lists/2363411216469
You will see news break just as fast on both.
But the argument is that most news doesn't get through to the main feed. THAT is true, again, sort of. Most posts suck on Facebook (and on Twitter and on Google+ too).
But lists show all, and in almost real time. Provably so, because I watch how fast things get posted all the time (it's my job to watch, especially in tech industry).
This is why I did the video last week about why Facebook is running away with the game: https://plus.google.com/events/c54hhsqnoe29kvmbt6s64jbkl7c
But, let's dig in, because there are advantages to lots of different social networks for different reasons.
TWITTER ADVANTAGES (clear wins):
1. You can search for news content. In real time. THIS IS A HUGE win for Twitter, and is one of the reasons I still keep it on my screen all day long.
2. You see all stuff that you follow (on Facebook you have to use lists to see all).
3. No news bias, because no filtering. (Facebook's filters are affected by a wide variety of things, including user behavior, which CAN induce bias).
4. Bias toward being public. On Twitter, the default is public. Yes, you can be private with your account, but most people aren't.
TWITTER/FACEBOOK TIES (not clear wins)
1. Scrolling content. Twitter scrolls, but not on mobile phone. In reality, I just keep a browser window open to Facebook (and another to Google+) and it auto refreshes. Yeah, you could say Twitter is seconds faster, but in reality that doesn't matter unless you are a news hound. Even there, Facebook, on my browsers, has a window over to the right where my friends' content scrolls in real time and that is NOT filtered.
FACEBOOK ADVANTAGES (clear wins)
1. Far less noise than Twitter, which makes it more likely to see news that will affect you.
2. Contextual news (I see news about where I live, because Facebook knows where I am. Twitter doesn't try to show me news about where I am.
3. More news for average users. Facebook will bring you news your friends are commenting on, sharing, or liking. So, even if you have five friends (who are active) chances are you'll see the big story of the day (when Robin Williams died I saw the news within seconds on both services, my wife actually saw it on Facebook before I even saw it on Twitter).
4. Better photos and easier to see what articles really have a lot of engagement. Facebook shows numbers of comments. I don't see numbers of replies on Twitter. (Compare how both lists look, that I gave above).
Anyway, let this kick off the great debate. I wrote this post very quickly, so probably missed a whole lot. I'll link to this from both Twitter and Facebook.
Let the debate begin!
UPDATE: you all know where I stand. I like Facebook better.