Jess’s Team Pick: Facebook vs Twitter

The  infographics below are making their way around the interwebs today and provide some fun stats on the two most popular procrastination tools of modern society: Facebook and Twitter. So, it got me thinking… which site could you live without?

Facebook frequently puts me in a real-life social anxiety coma, between the barrage of promotional event invites, my ex’s pictures with her new girlfriend, and the “it’s not official until it’s Facebook official” relationship status mentality.  So, while I’ve found that it’s less stressful to catch up on news feed happenings on weekends, I’d feel completely out of touch with the world at large if I went a few days without checking my Twitter feed.  In general, there’s not much happening on Facebook that can’t wait til the weekend to catch up on, while Twitter’s of-the-moment urgency, link sharing and lack of real-life drama is way better suited for my personality (and therapy budget).

How often do you check your Facebook/Twitter newsfeed? Does either site make you anxious? I’m also curious, have any of you ever completely deleted your Facebook and never returned ala ye ole MySpace? Do you sleep a little better at night?


[for side by side comparison, click to enlarge]

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 240 articles for us.


  1. I honestly hate Facebook and would delete it if it weren’t for my job (I work a lot with social media). Twitter is much more useful for following people, companies, etc – but I’ll admit it’s annoying as shit when 2-3 people I follow decide to update about the Grammy’s every 5 minutes.

  2. I hate Facebook. But I feel that I can’t go now, because of all the data I/my friends have uploaded on me. I’d kinda feel better controlling the info, than having it just lay there.

    But I really, really hate Facebook. Everything requires a thirty minute internal dialogue “will this cause social alienation”? I can’t add/delete people without worrying for days over it, even the slightest status update seems like a life or death decision.

    Twitter is so much better, there’s no drama whatsoever on there!

  3. I deleted my facebook last summer for privacy reasons, and I haven’t looked back since. I backed up all of the pictures and personal info I wanted to keep and then gave it the axe. Now my life has 90% less drama, and I don’t have to read anyone’s stupid feed or get spammed by advertisements. Besides that, it just feels healthier. Twitter was okay, but I didn’t really catch onto it. Now, I’m strictly a phone or text person, and I can’t see anything wrong with it.

  4. I kind of hate Facebook. I hate the notion of all of my family that they need to be my friends and comment on anything I ever post. I feel like I prefer my internet life/activities to be separate from my mother and how she doesn’t like to punctuate.

    I saw a thing once that said Facebook was for people you went to high school with and your family, and Twitter was for people you wish were your family. I feel like this is 100% accurate because I think I’d really like it if Rachel K. and Emma Watson were my family.

    Anyway, what I mean to say is that I hate Facebook and looking at everyone but I really love Twitter and love to look at it approximately four hundred times per day.

    • I LOVE THIS –> “Facebook was for people you went to high school with and your family, and Twitter was for people you wish were your family.”

    • I really don’t understand why people add their family. I mean, I even like some degrees of separation between different groups of my friends, you know? and yet more between family-me and social-me.

      • I can only answer for me, but I live on literally the opposite side of the world from my close-knit family. It’s a great way for me to keep in touch with them without having to worry about time zones.

      • Oh yeah, and I meant to add that it is completely possible to filter who your posts/other content are visible to, so you could have one group for friends and one group for family or whatever.

    • OMG YOUR MOM DOES THE NO PUNCTUATION THING TOO. Quick, does anyone else’s older family members randomly INTERJECT their SENTENCES with all caps especially when talking about God?
      “Great pictures Jean… God’s power is truly AWESOME. We only need to have FAITH. LOL!!”

  5. I love twitter, I check my feed 1 – 4 times per hour. Following the tweets of music and news publications has severely reduced the number of hours that I used to spend trawling the web. Plus 140 characters is perfect for my attention span.

    I stopped using Facebook when they started fucking around with everyone’s privacy settings, I don’t trust them. I’d love to delete my profile altogether howevs unfortunately it’s still the best way for people to track me down.

  6. I deleted my Facebook. I have a permanent tab open for Twitter.
    Though I’m thinking of returning to FB for a while since I seem to have fallen out of touch with people who I was really close with and aren’t on Twitter. Essentially I feel like I need to catch up on their lives and remind them I’m still alive. Cos it sure seems like you disappear from life completely when you disappear from Facebook.

    Facebook and its complications = headfuck.

    • “It sure seems like you disappear from life completely when you disappear from Facebook.” Ikr? I really want to delete my profile but I’m worried people will think I’ve died or something. Although there are people I’m friends with on Facebook I wouldn’t mind believing I had died.

  7. i thought you couldn’t delete your fb, only deactivate it?? i just recently reduced my friends significantly and decided to stop feeling guilty about it. in fact, i think i want to go delete some more people…

    twitter was the bomb when i had a smart phone, but i decided to eschew that much connectedness so now twitter has become my way of checking when glue&glitter posted something good.

    • I refuse to hide people on my Facebook feed – if I don’t like somebody, I delete them. No passive-aggressive bullshit here!

      Honestly I think the only reasons I got Twitter were a) I got a smartphone and b) I wanted to follow Autostraddle people. Hah!

  8. I had my best friend log into my FB and change the password, then delete it, after my ex broke up with me six months ago. It was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m still off the ‘book. I was having a lot of anxiety and feeling like a lonely loser at my boring job, while seeing all of my fellow college grads off at amazing fellowships abroad. Granted, I’ve blown a lot of it out of proportion in my head, but it still gets to me. I have to go back on soon because I’m my high school class agent and I use it to keep in touch, but I’m trying to put it off as long as possible. Or at least until I have something more exciting to report (which will hopefully be soon!). But my goal is to control my Facebook account, and not let it control me. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with Facebook anxiety!

  9. I hate facebook, but I love getting to see all my busy friends kids without, you know, actually seeing them. I often go through and delete all the liked pages and friends I don’t really want, and go through phases of posting everyday to none for weeks.

    I at least weaned myself off the crack of pointless mind numbing games.

    Twitter… it’s short 140 character entries just seem to make my ADD kick into over drive and there are soo many of them to read when I get back to it I just get fed up. But I do love anonymously posting about my fantasies on there….

  10. I had already quit Facebook before my whole family joined and sucked me back in. Now instead of calling me they check if I’m still alive via Facebook status update.

  11. i hate facebook. i feel like i have little to no control over my settings or the way my profile is displayed (i actually just think it’s ugly and want to redesign it). facebook is only useful because SO MANY people use it and so it’s good if i want to link to my blog, for example. actually that’s pretty much the only reason i still have facebook.

  12. I don’t mind being on FB now that I don’t care who sees/finds me. I got twitter but because I don’t have a lot to say all the time it just sits there…

    I don’t like the way FB is all sneaky with it’s settings and ownership of material/sharing of info crap. One day I’m sure they’ll do something that pushes me over the edge but I don’t want to unplug from it just yet.

    • AND by saying that I don’t mind people seeing/finding me – feel free to add me.

      I’ll be your fair-status-friend and won’t judge you (much) on your 432 pictures of lint or the person you’re currently stalking… or twitter @ChristineRocket (but remember… I don’t say much)

  13. I gave up on Twitter when it became clear that “Wow! That was some great cheese…” really WAS the best it would get.

  14. I like Facebook pretty well, but I have fewer than 200 friends and have my security settings pretty tightly managed (I had to block my dad from seeing almost anything because he did not understand it’s not okay to comment ineptly on Every Damn Thing.) It’s nice for reading things that my funny, intelligent real-life friends have to share, keeping up casually with friends who are far away, getting invited to things, playing Scrabble with my girlfriend, etc. It’s also been really useful for my band. I don’t feel like it’s oppressive — if I’m annoyed by someone I’ll just choose not to see their stuff.

    I know about Twitter and it seems okay to me, but I’ve never used it at all, and probably won’t unless it’s for work or something.

  15. I have a Twitter tab permaopen and logged in, it’s pretty great. Facebook… I joined a few years ago to swap Pieces of Flair with some friends. Briefly got hooked into chocobo farming around New Year’s, but other than that it’s tumbleweed city.

    Apparently I do have a lot of family members on Facebook, but there’s no point seeking them out either because it wouldn’t accept my name as a real name (or my nickname). Don’t feel like explaining that to my mother…

        • i think one of my first blog posts ever was a complaint about the auto-playing music. NEVER EVER EVER DOES ANYONE GO TO A WEBSITE AND THINK ‘OH GOOD, I’M GLAD THAT SONG JUST STARTED PLAYING! IT’S JUST WHAT I WANT TO HEAR RIGHT NOW!’ no never. it’s so selfish and mean. i hate it.

          anyhow i deleted my myspace like 3 times. for a while i went ourchart-only, which i thought was really funny but nobody else did.

          • Please send this message to every club/bar/hip lounge-restaurant/promo company website as well.

            I just want to know when ladies night is, not start a dance party.

  16. I deleted my facebook last month, but I have a new one now. It’s refreshing to live without it for awhile. I avoided thinking superficially often. But, eventually, I missed everyone I could only keep in touch with through facebook (I’ve moved a lot). I guess, learn to take advantage of technology, but don’t let it consume you! Deactivate your account when it triggers too much anxiety. Or make everything private.

  17. I think my perspective is different here, as many of my friends and family live in the US while I live in Australia. If I weren’t on Facebook, I don’t think I’d be in touch with a lot of people I care about as much as I’d like to be!

  18. i am in a long term relationship with the internet and that means we have a lot in common, like every social networking website in the word. i have accounts on literally every site you have ever heard of.

    that being said, anxiety about them works this way:

    facebook — omg does it look like i party too much? enough? not enough? oh my god that picture was up for like five hours and i look horrible. shit nobody liked my status should i delete it. can i post this? is it actually cool?

    twitter: omg do i tweet too much omg can this person tell i’m tweeting about them do they get my mobile updates fuck should i delete it? that being said, twitter seems to be less traffic-y lately. good.

    tumblr: WHY ARE PEOPLE FOLLOWING ME ON TUMBLR THAT I WRITE ABOUT SECRETLY. for this reason i made one only i can see.

    when it comes down to facebook v twitter the easy winner is tumblr, btw.

  19. i stay out of the dark corners (like the rest of the interwebs, tweeps come in every stripe).

    i love that on twitter i can be gay and geeky and nerdy and find people that are nice and happy to talk to me. there are cool authors, other book-people, science geeks, scifi nerds, movie/film/writing dorks…it’s actually a lot of fun.

    to be honest though, i first joined to follow autostraddle peeps. #socialnetworkingftw #notstalkingiswear

  20. *Facebook = my high school reunion. Seriously. By the time the actual 10 year reunion happens we’ll all pretty much know what’s been up. I don’t add any family – which can A) avoid awkward conversations, yet B)bring on their own awkward (“So…I see you haven’t accepted my friend request”…oh hey mom…yeah, about that…)

    Twitter = mostly used to keep up with my nerdy political interests. I’ll follow local politicians, local government sectors, cable news outlets…but then also the Dalai Lama…Joan Rivers…and my personal fave, DailyCheeseJoke (“What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror? Halloumi.”…AM I RIGHT??)

    *Failbook is quite an amusing spawn of Facebook…

    • Oh weird…so…I literally just found out via Twitter that Facebook added a new relationship status: In a civil union/domestic partnership.

      Guess I do use them both fairly equally.

    • My mom has changed tactics and has started begging me to accept her friend request. I’m holding firm on the ‘oh hell no, no freaking way.’

  21. don’t we all have a love/hate relationship with Facebook…
    I don’t have a twitter but I feel like the facebook status now is used in a manner similar to the tweet. Facebook can be useful, like when you want to look up a girl to see if she is gay/single or whatever, or to have event information, and stuff… but I spend way more time on that site than I should, of course! It’s terrible!
    Most of the time I will be looking through my newsfeed and wondering why I’m wasting my time this way because it may be updated a lot but it’s not entertaining… then I’ll find out through Facebook newsfeed that my friend that I’ve lost touch with (but am friends with on facebook still) has gotten married/ is pregnant/ gave birth etc.

  22. I have Facebook because it’s convenient for school and for friends and whatnot, but I won’t add my family there. I don’t have a million Facebook friends so it does feel like a more personal space to put silly thoughts out there but still every status update/link/cat video shared I feel like everyone is judging me maybe this is a me problem and not a Facebook problem.

    I use Twitter for work and for fun and I do let my family on there, because it’s more public than my Facebook so I tend to be more neutral when I post. I also work a serious job in a proper office and work people follow me on Twitter so I have to maintain standards of properness that I don’t worry about on Facebook. Sometimes this makes me a bit sad, since I was on Twitter before the serious office job, but then when I have something “fun” to share I just post it on Facebook and get over it.

  23. i joined facebook like two weeks ago, and regret it. seriously, had i just looked out for the friends i had lost contact with on my own, my ex probably would have left me alone/dyke drama.

  24. Having gone out of my cave (TRANSLATION: NEW TO FACEBOOK), I feel that this is bringing out my neediness for love and acceptance. /feelings

  25. I use FB to just stay in touch with classmates and family. I also clean out my list every month to rid drama/inactive people.

    I’m addicted to twitter and would rather just have that and tumblr.

  26. I’m with you on twitter vs fb Jess. I can be off fb for a week but i cannot not check my twitter feed everyday – every few hours even.

  27. The day that I delete facebook is the day that I attain nirvana/spontaneously combust/ on my way to being a much better (re:enlightened) human being.

    I swear, that day is coming soon.

  28. For me, fb is like having to go to a work party on NYE. Tons of people are there, most of whom I barely know if at all. I rarely get quality time with the people I actually enjoy spending time with. The same people who tend to monopolize conversations irl flood the feed with status updates and links to “you gotta see this” videos. Most reasonable people pretty much keep to themselves and ditch the party as early as possible. The stragglers uses it as an excuse to over-indulge themselves and generally misbehave.

    To make it all worse, there’s no way to know who is exposing my information (it only take one ignorant/indifferent friend to derail most of my carefully selected privacy settings) or how fb and the apps makers are trading and commoditizing the data, resulting in a nagging urge to second guess my own updates in case someone I never intended is using it.

    All this leaves me curious about Path, the personal network launched late last year by a former fb employee to augment social networks:

    “Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal. Path is a place where you can be yourself.”

  29. How to delete, like really, really delete your Facebook: 1) Set up a new Facebook account. 2) Go to your old profile. 3) Report it as fake, and Facebook will work its magic after a few days. This way, you don’t have the urge to log back in and reactivate your account, since deactivating does nothing but hide your profile from everyone else for a little while.

    I have a lot of problems with Facebook. I check it regularly and go on a massive guilt trip every time that I do, although I remain there because every time I try to go off I am suddenly completely out of touch from almost everyone that I don’t see on a daily basis. When I ask about their lives, I am directed to Facebook. “Oh, didn’t you see my Facebook?” Facebook has practically eradicated real live face to face contact with my less intimate friends and acquaintances.

    I feel like I’m an unwelcome invader on somebody else’s private life, especially if I’m looking at pictures of an event I wasn’t physically present at. To truly be welcome I should be interacting directly with them, preferably face to face or via private chat. Sure they added me as their friend and sure they’re posting it online, but I feel like most of the people I know don’t actually realize exactly what kind of audience they’re reaching when they hit that post button.

    People lose all discretion when they post on Facebook, since Facebook is like a mad popularity competition where everyone strives to prove to everyone else that their lives are the most interesting and fun-filled. Things that people would normally be uncomfortable having hundreds of people witness, like their underage drinking or their attempts to choke their significant other to death by shoving their tongue down their throat (they call it a make out session I call it attempted murder), are broadcast on Facebook to hundreds of people, who are each given the ability to spread it even further around if they so wished. That is fucked up. Sure there are privacy settings for letting only certain groups of people see these photos, but again, it’s way too easy for just one person to get the wrong idea in their head and download that photo and repost it for the world to see. Does anyone remember that every time they click upload or post?

    I once read a quote from someone (can’t remember who now), who said that teens should change their names once they turn into adults to distance themselves from their teenage online presence. This was meant to be a joke, but what with Facebook and other “social media networks” I think that we are coming closer and closer to a reality where that would be a very smart idea.

  30. whenever i talk to people about facebook i realize that the experience of being a person who works online (in social media, to a certain extent) on FB is really different than probs being any other kind of person. i feel like it’s a place i exist because it’s important to have a FB presence for blogging, writing, now autostraddling.

    I don’t actually know about half of my facebook friends, they are just readers or whathaveyou. I’ve never had my relationship status up (aside from pretending to be married to this or that person for funsies from time to time), i don’t think i’ve written a status update that wasn’t a link to something AS-related in 3 years. so to me it’s just this weird space, more like a combination of people that might come together in a freaky dream (strangers! aunts and uncles! exes! friends from high school! friends from childhood! friends from now that i never see! more strangers! colleagues! people i’ve worked with in about 15 different industries! jennifer beals!) — it’s how a lot of people keep up with what i’m doing though i guess, so to that end i get anxious about it and react by just not posting anything on facebook ever.

    i do like twitter though, though again i guess it’s become pretty AS-related. i think in 20 years it’s going to be a thing, one of many accepted forms of normal communication, like email, telephone, voicemails, etc. it’s actually really useful and i think enhances our sort of ambient connectivity.

  31. After reading this post, I went to go delete my old MySpace and did a purge of some “friends” on FaceBook. It feels good.

    Also: I never got into Twitter, mostly because I am deathly afraid of oversharing and don’t think anyone should/would ever be interested in what I’m doing every minute of everyday.

  32. I don’t like Facebook – BUT I still use it pretty much everyday. I feel like if I don’t have an FB account, I’ll lose touch with people.

    A lot of my friends are all over the world now – from the US, to Australia, and lots of places in between. If I delete FB, I’m basically choosing to lose contact with a lot of these people, as it’s near impossible to keep in touch otherwise (having tried this pre-FB, it is v difficult).

    I know I should just do the old-fashioned thing of picking up the phone and calling people, but it just doesn’t happen these days. Particularly, most of my friends are super-nerds and as such answering a phone, and having an actual conversation, is more stressful for them than it’s worth ;)

  33. I feel like Facebook is the only thing keeping me connected to some acquaintances from my past. I feel like for networking for jobs, I should have a Facebook profile. I do feel awkward when I friend request people I’m not especially close to, but whatever. I try not to post too much personal information. Sometimes I’ll post status updates, but I’ll delete them after a couple days. I don’t like a permanent record of things I’ve said and exchanged I’ve had with people.

  34. facebook is 4 people I went 2 school with & twitter is 4 people I wish, I could go 2 school with!

  35. I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook. I think people have a tendency to be 10x more annoying on Facebook then they are in real life. It also gives me anxiety because I’m afraid that with all these sharing options that I’m accidentally going to post porn on my wall or something. Which would be an interesting way to come out, I’d just rather not.

    • Ha, so I’m not the only one who worries about that? Now, I go to blogs and websites and I’m still logged into Facebook and they want my posts on said blogs and websites to be posted to my Facebook also and I’m like AHHH WORLDS ARE COLLIDING! I seriously have worried about porn or homogay comments getting associated with my Facebook. I always log out of Facebook now. Always!

      • Oh yeah, it freaks me out. After I look at any form of porn, I check my Facebook page, even if I was logged out. Just in case.

  36. I really like Facebook for about three or four really limited things:
    – Inviting people to parties and being invited to parties. I find it way easier to invite new classmates who I like, for example, on Facebook, because a FB invite is way less of a big deal than a personal invite, so I know if people actually show up it’s because they want to, and because it’s not a big investment from me (it hasn’t made me vulnerable) I don’t mind if they don’t show.
    – Seeing and sharing photos. I know photos are one of the things people often hate about Facebook, but since I’ve never in my life taken a good photo I have no social anxiety over photos in which I look dumb (although I did untag a really awful one the other day, but only because it showed up on the front page and was just heinous.) I often feel like, with the way we manage photos now, all my parents’ boxes of snapshots are going to be replaced in my generation by an empty void, and I kind of hate that idea. I know we’re all supposed to be upset that Things On The Internet Stay There Forever, but it makes me feel relieved!
    – FB is perfectly designed (because that’s what it was designed for) for keeping up with college-level classmates in a way that isn’t supported by the tertiary environment where I live.
    – Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma Blitz.

    But other than that, I don’t have social anxiety over Facebook because I don’t give a fuck. I have never updated my relationship status and have no plans to, I don’t care if my dad creeps on my facebook and notes that I’m interested in women, everybody who’s spoken to me for longer than 30 seconds already knows the worst things about me, I friend back everyone whose name I recognise and don’t care if they defriend me. I check facebook a couple times a week, sometimes daily.

    Twitter, on the other hand, is my bestest darling. I have an anonymous twitter for political and fandom talk, a named twitter so I can prove to employers that I’m familiar with hot social media and can communicate with people in my field and location, and I’m logged in and checking it whenever I have a browser running. I used to kind of scoff about it so I totally get people who don’t dig it, but yeah. I like it.

  37. All of you who are saying you hate facebook but don’t feel like you can delete it, you should seriously just delete it. I was pretty dependent on it too but decided to delete it about 6 months ago because I hated it so much and everything has been completely fine. I still have email, instant messenger, and phone/texting. I promise you it is not as big of a deal as you think it is and you will feel better after getting that annoying shit out of your life.

  38. I stopped checking Twitter when my favourite app (twirl) broke for a while. Now it’s been months and I think I’m too far out of the twitter loop. Has it been too long? Would Twitter even accept me back? I do not know.

    Someday I will work up the nerve to delete my facebook. Until then, tumblr and I will be having a passionate affair.

  39. I loved Facebook…. Until I became obsessed with it… Then I came out of it with some small withdrawals…. more like I got a job and do not have alotof extra time to get my stalk on. I still manage to visit autostraddle though:)

  40. I hate FB for personal use. I deactivated it and my life instantly got better. However, I do marketing management for the clinic I work at and I use FB, Twitter, and Linkedin. All of them are absolutely genius in that respect. Lowers the owner’s marketing budget tremendously which means I get paid more. LOVE IT.

  41. Once I joined twitter I realized why people love it and I totally use it more than fb now. Now I pretty much permanently have a tab open to it and follow most everyone from autostraddle.

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