It was a single question, but it sparked a worldwide debate over the weekend, particularly in the Middle East, where both social networking platforms have been used to fuel anti-government protests. Rallies were announced on Facebook, then micro-blogged on Twitter. As the Egyptian government tried to shut down media access to Tahrir Square, the world turned to both Twitter and Facebook for their news source, and we witnessed revolutions, not through news commentators and pundits, but by the protesters themselves. And despite our distance, we were affixed to the fragmented but interconnected messages that documented a revolution.
Although responses generated from all over the world, the Arab world in particular was especially involved in the debate. Read some of their responses:
Egyptian blogger Dalia Ziada, Cairo:
“FB is a gated community; Twitter is Grand Central Station at rush hour.”
Google executive Wael Ghonim, Cairo/Dubai:
“Twitter one-way relations makes a lot of people trying to be more unique & less main stream to acquire followers.”
Shaimaa Khalef, Egypt:
“Facebook is where you lie to people you know. Twitter is where you’re honest to strangers.”
“Facebook keeps you in touch with old friends; Twitter helps you make new ones.”
Daily News Egypt reporter Mai Shams El-Din:
“On Facebook you see people’s faces, on Twitter you see their minds.”
Ahmad El Esseily, Cairo:
“Twitter has acknowledged that there are people that tweet in Arabic while FB is still in denial.”
Amna Amer, Cairo:
“u choose to follow cause ure convinced, fb you have to accept every friend request because otherwise u would be blamed!”
Mohamed Diab, Egypt:
“With Facebook the game ends at 5,000 friends. On Twitter, the allure of getting more followers never ends.”
Amr S. Iraki, Cairo:
“Twitter, you can talk a lot. Facebook, if you update your status too much people will think you have no life.”
For inner circles, it looks like Facebook is the platform of choice. But if you want to spread your message further, Twitter’s influence outweighs by far.
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