As both networks increasingly catch on within the masses (including everything from grandmothers to six year-olds), I hear more and more people express confusion about the differences between Twitter and Facebook.  Why use one and not the other?  Or should it be both?  Both sites let you keep in touch with friends, send private messages, and share photos.  Almost every company that advertises a social media presence offers both options.  So what in the world is the difference?

Let’s find out, in as simple a format as possible.

I’ll break down the major advantages of each to let you better decide where your interest might lie:

Distinctions of Facebook

Distinctions of Twitter

Can You Use Both?

Absolutely.  There are applications (for phones and desktop) such as TweetDeck that allow you to post to both places at once, and if you’re seeing someone’s posts in both places, simply hide them in one or the other—whichever service you use least.

Note that if you add the Twitter application to Facebook (which automatically posts all of your tweets), Facebook consolidates these posts together and hides them unnecessarily. This is why I use a service to do it instead.

My Take

I use both of these services frequently, but for mostly different purposes.  Because of its widespread adoption among casual users, Facebook is absolutely my go-to place right now for general friend updates.  However, I do not post photos and personal details there because Facebook’s security has always been a little hazy, so that limits its usefulness somewhat.  Instead, I use third-party services (such as Flickr) to do this and link to them on both sites.

It’s Twitter, though, that I’ve really come to love after ignoring it out of the gate.  Mostly it’s been the professional and entertainment worlds that have driven my enjoyment of it, and again, I have discovered an incredible number of web design tools and articles via other web designers.  This concept has easily be applied to any trade or passion—even getting up-to-the-minute updates on your favorite sports team (something my father has quite enjoyed).  And on top of that, the pure entertainment of following your favorite personalities (often actors, in my case) puts the icing on the cake.

If you hear people slamming either of these services, they’re being naive.  Each has its benefits to offer, and if those benefits are not for you, then that’s perfectly okay.  But there is little question that both are providing great value for many, many people.

Are there things I’ve missed?  What are your favorite aspects of one or the other?  Feel free to leave your own comments (something that should be easier to see on the new blog here).