The Beginning of the End for Facebook?

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In Response to Saul McArthur's Article

There was a time when people thought Facebook was undefeatable. When no one else in the world of social networking could lay a hand on the internet goliath. Its 700 million strong army of users were surely proof that Facebook was going to obliterate any competition that came along. That was until this little blue bird came along in 2006. Although it took a while to get off the ground, Twitter took the world by storm, thanks to an array of celebrities, such as Ashton Kutcher. Since then, the micro-blogging website, which, let’s face it, is used predominantly as a wonderful tool for creeping on celebrities, has amassed an approximate following of 140 million users. Not bad ‘ey?

However, even with almost a seventh of the world’s population under its belt, Facebook has still received a lot of bad press recently. After the company went public, share prices have fallen, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported Facebook’s user growth rates slowing, as well as the amount of time people spending on the site declining. More and more people are becoming converts to this little blue bird and can’t stop sharing their 140 character long thoughts with the world, with some people ditching Facebook altogether. There’s a mass migration from Facebook to Twitter.  So why does Twitter have this magnetism?

There’s a number of reasons as to why people are logging off their Facebooks and onto their Twitters. For me, it was the idea of being able to see what celebrities are doing all the time. It really brought out the stalker in me. Above all though, you can go on Twitter and not log off 20 minutes later feeling stressed and irritated, unlike Facebook. The weirdo from high school who won’t stop liking your posts. The girls who just post hearts on each other’s walls. The bimbo caked in makeup who won’t stop taking photos of herself on her iPhone then captioning them with ‘deep’ song lyrics. When will you learn? Instagram does not make you into the next Mario Testino! Facebook is full of these nauseating personalities that you met in high school, and whose friend requests you had to accept. The inane status updating and blabbering of these irritating people is one of the reasons why people are packing their online suitcases and relocating to the Twittersphere.

The unfortunate thing is though, if you delete these blithering morons off Facebook, drama will ensue; questions will be asked. Unfriending someone on Facebook is the equivalent of stamping on their feet in real life and storming off, never to be seen again. Mind you, that doesn’t stop me doing it half the time. I care far too much for my ‘timeline’. However, on Twitter, the nonchalance with which you can ‘unfollow’ someone is fantastic, simply because half the time, they probably won’t even notice.

Contradictory? I know. When people first got Facebook, it was great. They simply added the people they wanted to add, the people they wanted to talk to, but the evolution in Facebook etiquette means that now, once you have had eye contact with someone at the bus-stop, that is sufficient contact to warrant adding them as your ‘friend’. How many of the people on your Facebook friends list would you actually consider a friend?  Exactly.

Quite simply though, Facebook has found a competitor in Twitter because Twitter is interesting. Interesting in an intellectual way. Facebook’s interesting, but for finding out what’s going on in the life of the high-school plastic who turned fat when she went to University, or the geek who’s turned quite hot. Twitter on the other hand, has scientists, authors and entrepreneurs on it. It’s interesting in a way that’s acceptable to explain to other people.  It’ll always sound a bit odd if you say you find Facebook fun because you stalking your ex, or your old classmates. The drawback of Twitter? It’s even more time-consuming than Facebook. Before Twitter, and even now, it’s safe to say just about everyone spent hours scrolling up and down their Facebook news feed aimlessly, no matter how dull it was. However, students trying to revise now have to fight an even greater temptation of procrastination in the form of Twitter. It’s scary to think how much time you’re going to waste scrolling up and down these online news feeds.

Regardless, Twitter, and it would seem Facebook as well, aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so students, sorry, but you’ll be procrastinating and time-wasting a lot more in the Twittersphere and the, I guess, Facebook...sphere?

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