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Students face off between Twitter, Facebook

In the age of social networking sites, the debate about Facebook versus Twitter continues.

Both websites have recently redesigned some aspects of their pages.

Facebook added a “ticker” to the right of the newsfeed in September. The ticker shows real-time activity of the user’s friends.

Twitter replaced the “mentions” and “retweet” categories at the top of the subscriber’s news feed with “@username” and “Activity” options. Activity allows users to “view favorites, follows, retweets and more” and @username allows them to “view your mentions, tweets that were retweeted and more,” according to Twitter.com.

Despite these new options, students still have strong preferences when it comes to social networking.

Brian Bourke, a second-year in accounting, said he uses Facebook more than Twitter because the site has more options.

“It’s easier to connect with people. There’s a lot more suggestions of people you should meet,” he said. “Twitter hasn’t been around as long.”

Bourke said he appreciates that Facebook helps him keep track of important dates, such as his mom’s birthday.

Cory Warmouth, a second-year in marketing, also prefers Facebook.

He said he thinks one can have a stronger connection to friends on Facebook than on Twitter.

“You can comment on people’s thoughts, unlike Twitter tweets,” he said. “You can have group discussions and chats while you’re on Facebook.”

Matt Ede, a second-year in business administration, said he uses his Facebook account frequently but does not yet have a Twitter account.

“I don’t understand the tweet thing, but I would love to get on the same page as everyone else,” he said.

A “tweet” is a post limited to 140 characters or less, written by a Twitter user.

Other students have made a switch from Facebook to Twitter and prefer the newer social media site.

Alexa Norberg, a second-year in social work, said she is on Twitter one to two hours daily.

“I like that you can retweet people and I feel like it’s more intimate with your friends,” she said.

Users can “retweet” or repost another user’s tweet to their account.

Norberg said she likes that Twitter hosts multiple comedic accounts aimed at a college-aged demographic.

Stu Hood, an infrastructure engineer at Twitter, said in an email that one of the benefits to having a Twitter account is so users can follow accounts that best relate to them.

“Personally, I think that this fine-grained, highly tuned news-source selection is the best reason for a person to maintain a Twitter account,” he said in the email. “Checking your Twitter timeline or setting up SMS/device alerts for some accounts can keep you aware of the most important things happening in your world.”

Hood said in the email that Twitter hopes to make improvements to increase the ease of which users can find accounts that could interest them.

“In particular, Twitter becomes much more engaging once you’re following a relevant hand full of accounts, so we want to make it easier for new users to get off to a running start,” he said.

More users choose to follow others, but many do decide to produce some content, Hood said in the email.

On The Facebook Blog, Samuel Lessin, a product manager at Facebook, posted about the evolution of the profile, as it relates to Facebook.

“Since the beginning of Facebook, your profile has been the place where you tell your story,” Lessin wrote. “With (the introduction of) timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared.”

Timeline is a new feature Facebook is developing to log activities and organize them in a linear fashion.

The Lantern’s attempts to reach Facebook officials were unsuccessful.

Warmouth said he appreciates the posting structure of Twitter.

“I can say whatever I want, where you just tweet something, just a random thought,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about people commenting on it like ‘man, you’re an idiot.'”

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