The (new) social network

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Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter
Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter
Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter

In 2010, Paramount Pictures released a film called The Social Network. Just like its protagonist, the film itself took a rather aggressive standpoint, affirming that Facebook is essentially the social network. This was of course true at some point; Facebook skyrocketed in popularity after its release in 2004. However, within an internet arguably defined by its social opportunities, we wonder if Facebook has lost its novelty. Is it still socially relevant? More importantly, is it still cool?

There are several problems with the Facebook of today. Firstly, the advertisements present an issue. Not only are they glued to the right hand side of your screen, but they also infiltrate themselves into the newsfeed. These advertisements are not even applicable to the average Facebook user. Many center on weight loss. Frankly, this is not a topic people want to think about while they’re wasting time in front of their computer screens. Nor do we want Facebook asking us if we’re ‘Constantly Constipated?’ Honestly sometimes they just make you uncomfortable. No, Facebook, I do not want to ‘find hippie men near’ me. Even if they are ‘looking for the right lady.’

Another issue is the large portion of older adults on Facebook. Of course we don’t mind being “friends” with our parents, aunts, uncles, even former teachers. But the truth is, these people aren’t really our friends. They’re inextricably locked into positions of authority.
We don’t let them see us drink, swear, or rat our hair in real life. They really shouldn’t see it online either. Yet with Facebook it’s unavoidable.

There’s one final innate and irreparable problem with Facebook. Those who post on it are usually out having a great time. They put up pictures of themselves hanging out with friends and tag hot locations. However, those scrolling through their news feeds on Facebook are usually doing so because they’re alone and have nothing better to do. Facebook both propagates feelings of exclusion and often becomes a forum for egotism.

All three of these problems are solved on Twitter. Advertisements are very limited and clearly identified (usually just one “promoted” trend). And the average Twitter user is significantly younger than the average Facebook user. In fact, earlier this year it was discovered that the average age of Twitter users has decreased by two years; in the same time that of the average Facebook user has increased by two years.

Finally, Twitter is anything but a forum for egotism. ‘Twitpics’ are presented on their own instead of inside an album with fifteen other identical pictures. The 140 character limit reminds you that we really don’t care that much what you have to say. Very simply, Twitter offers a cool factor and anonymity Facebook can’t.

Twitter doesn’t want to know your high school or your relationship status. Unlike Facebook, it’s a place where we only share a small piece of ourselves. Yet somehow, that small piece, that one sentence a day, we send off into the invisible oblivion called “the internet” says more about us than the all-inclusive, never-ending timelines of our Facebook accounts.

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