My Facebook Experiment: Week One Breakdown

I mentioned awhile back that I planned to try using Facebook for a week. That week is now up, and the results are in. I stuck to my rule of updating my status at least once a day as well as commenting on statuses from three different people for seven days.

Here’s the breakdown.

My own statuses received 24 likes from 14 different people. Of those people, I met 5 people in high school (including one of my high school teachers), 3 from college, and 3 from NaNo. The remaining 3 are from other areas of life. I already follow 5 of these people on Twitter, meaning they probably knew about my crossposting shenanigans. These statuses also received a total of five comments from two different people (my high school French teacher and one of my good friends from high school).

I commented on statuses from blank different people. This came up to 4 people from high school, 9 people from college, 5 people from NaNo, and 2 people I know from somewhere else entirely. I follow only two of these people on Twitter. (Well, three, but the third isn’t very active.) But I did do a better job of interacting with folks I don’t already follow. One person from college also noticed I was on Facebook and commented on that. I need to get back to her about meeting up again. (Note to self: DO THAT.)

I crossposted a few of these status updates (or variations of them) from Twitter. Let’s see what happened.

(I can embed tweets. Neat.)

This tweet got one retweet and three favorites. No replies according to my Twitter analytics, though I do remember someone replying to me about sprinkles. On Facebook, the same status received five likes and no comments.

Have another notable update:

On Twitter: three retweets and ten favorites, along with a reply and (according to Twitter’s analytics) two clicks to view to individual tweet. On Facebook: four likes, zero comments.

And another set of Twitter updates that turned into one Facebook status:

This tweet got four replies, three favorites, and zero retweets.

This tweet alone got seven replies, one favorite, and five clicks to view the full tweet or photo.

Funnily, the Facebook version of these two tweets is where I got my first comment–three comments from one person and two from me in reply. Two people also happened to like this post.

One thing to keep in mind when comparing is that my Twitter following is much bigger than that of Facebook. I have somewhere around 350 Facebook friends and over 18001 Twitter followers. There is some overlap in the two groups, but not that much.

A few things I’ve gathered from this experiment:

1. My Twitter following is very heavy on books, writing, and general nerdery. Facebook, not so much. Sure, there’s some general nerdery on Facebook, but there are many more shared things, “What X are you?” quizzes, and photos (particularly of kids). Dear gods, the kids. I’m pretty sure I added multiple people from high school whose occupations are “Babyname’s Mommy”. Gag. But that’s a separate post entirely.

2. Likes are the currency for Facebook. For Twitter, I measure how amusing I am by a combination of replies, favorites, and retweets.

3. Because I’m not normally a regular Facebook user, my updates don’t show up in many people’s feeds. Compare that to Twitter and its unfiltered feed. Your tweet appears in everyone’s feeds, but not everyone on Twitter is there constantly like I am, meaning many people check in on the last few tweets and ignore what happened a long time ago. This is partly due to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, which determines which posts to show a user by how much they’ve interacted, This means a more popular post is more likely to show up in your feed than one from someone who updates every few months. I far prefer the unfiltered Twitter feed, even if it does feel crowded sometimes. Still, I know I’m getting all the signal and all the noise on Twitter, compared to Facebook where I get some signal, a lot of noise, and am potentially missing out on more signal for whatever reason.

4. And the big one for me: Facebook is much more difficult to skim than Twitter is. Sharing someone else’s update and uploading a photo each take up nearly an entire screen. And when that’s the bulk of the updates, I can’t skim or find the important-to-me updates effectively.

Will I continue with Facebook? I’m not sure. Less of Facebook is relevant to my interests than Twitter is, and fewer of Facebook’s interests are relevant to mine. And that’s not even getting started on Facebook’s technical practices.

But seriously, Facebook, let me hide all those kid photos and quizzes. I don’t care which of the seven dwarves I am2.

1Seriously, people, I’m not that interesting.

2Dopey, if anyone’s wondering. My high school’s French club put on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves one year, and I played Dopey. Yep.

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