There are four design reasons why I think we all run to Twitter to perform first-person reportage:
- It’s focused.
- You can only do one thing (really) in Twitter: say what’s in front of you.
- It’s lightweight. Both in terms of data (mainly just text packets) but also in terms of interface. (Although the growing interface complexity of recent releases worries me.)
- It’s efficient. You open it, you post, you leave. Quick.
- It has a near perfect delivery mechanism. The open model of one to many and the publicly linkable nature of most tweets combine to form a very strong platform for quickly disseminating front-line reports.
It’s also interesting to note that there are now effectively two Twitters:
- Twitter as micro-curation tool
- Twitter as reportage tool
Facebook, on the other hand, has been guided by a very different set of design decisions. In contrast to Twitter:
- It’s not particularly focused. There are countless activities from posting updates to commenting on photos to creating groups to playing games.
- It’s heavy. It pulls a lot of data every time you open it.
- It’s inefficient. To jump in and just post an update is to ignore a plethora of multimedia and notifications vying for your attention. (But it's hyper efficient at other sub-activities such as tagging photos.)
- The closed system of reciprocity in followship limits its mass broadcast capabilities.