Twitter is a bar and other Social Network metaphors

I have spoken with a few people recently about social networks and how they compare. In explaining it, I’ve settled on a few metaphors that most people seem to understand pretty intuitively. Here goes...

Twitter is a bar

Twitter is your neighborhood Irish bar on a Friday night. It’s busy, noisy, and there are tons of conversations happening simultaneously. This makes Twitter a great place for short, and casual conversations, particularly since there are a bunch of people around to talk to. With the many conversations happening within ear-shot, it’s easy to catch something of interest and hop in to another conversation at a moments notice.

However, the raucousness makes Twitter a difficult place to have an extended conversation. It’s certainly not the place to (at least easily) discuss the intricacies of foreign policy or War and Peace. The people who try to engage in these conversations generally are quickly frustrated and leave for other establishments.

Facebook is a coffee shop

Unlike the raucous and noisy crowd of Twitter, Facebook presents a much quieter and civilized environment akin to that of your local coffee shop. Plush and comfortable surroundings make Facebook a nicer environment for conversing with friends. Conversations can flow freely but be careful what you say since your parents or kindergarten teacher may walk in at any moment. While some people are there to chat with friends, others are simply hanging out and taking advantage of the free amenities (e.g. photos).

LinkedIn is a library

Last but not least, LinkedIn is your local library. Walking into the library the silence is almost deafening. The whispers of others serve as reminders that a few people occasionally visit this establishment. The library’s biggest asset is that it’s filled with valuable and accurate historical information. Yet, looking as this information you get the sense that it’s stale and rarely updated. While you may not be able to find out the latest news trends, if you want to know where your competitor’s CEO went college, this would be a good place to look.

So where do you want to hang out?


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