As the social media debate continues in education, I am still amazed by the general misunderstanding of Twitter v. Facebook. It seems that most educators understand Facebook, yet precious few truly understand Twitter, or at least Twitter use as a professional. Here is an apples and oranges look at both:
Facebook is to follow people you know; Twitter is to follow people you don’t know.
Facebook is about dozens or hundreds of people in a network; Twitter is about thousands, ten-thousands, hundred thousands.
Facebook is generally self-centered and personal; Twitter is best as a professional network based on sharing (materials, links, ideas).
Facebook users can catch up on a few days of posts in ten minutes or so; Twitter users have no real expectation of keeping up.
Facebook is about a two-way connection; Twitter is only one-way.
Facebook is seen as an inbox of sorts, like a pool; Twitter is seen as an endless conversation, like a river.
Facebook is used most by young people, but seen as a site for adults; Twitter is most used by adults, but seen as a site for young people.
Facebook is fading in popularity; Twitter is surging in popularity.
As a side note, most educators would never believe that there are upwards tens of thousands of educators on Twitter, constantly sharing great material and ideas. If you can, show them your PLN feed. Connection to other educators in this way reduces isolation, builds a sense of global community, and opens teachers and school leaders to ideas they might never consider.
As I see it, there is no more powerful collaboration tool in education today than Twitter. It is unfortunate how few educators understand it enough to become a part of the conversation.