How quickly the news spreads these days. Working in a radio station today, and the news was out very quickly, and just as I looked down my feed was full of announcements regarding the Royal Engagement (some positive, some negative!), so I was interested to see how long it would be before the topic trended:

Just over 5 minutes after the announcement it was trending in the UK:

At 1128 it’s moving towards the top of the UK list.

At 1130 it’s made the world trending topics:

Facebook not quite so busy, although a few status updates! Reflects the different nature of the tools? Twitter functions more as an information stream for all kinds of issues and interests, whereas Facebook is more about connecting with your friends…

3 Responses

  1. Bex

    Some very interesting stuff here, particularly about the difference between Twitter and Facebook. I notice that commentators on social networking often lump these (and other such systems) together as though they were all much the same. Which is obviously not the case. Twitter is an open system (more or less) where you are talking, potentially, to the whole world. Facebook is closed, where you and your friends have chosen to be in touch with each other.

    The difference between the open and closed exists in the pre-network world. Think of what you might say if you were being interviewed on television on some contentious issue, knowing that anybody might view the broadcast. By comparison what might you say to a friend about the same issue when talking to them over the telephone. Twitter corresponds to the broadcast. Facebook is not quite a phone call to a friend; since you have several friends it’s more like a conference call. But we can expect considerable differences in people’s uses of the two systems.

    These numbers of responses look like the start of what could be some interesting research – the differences in the responses to major events in different social networks. My hypothesis would be that the tone of the Twitter dialogue would include more extreme statements than Facebook dialogues. This because it’s somehow easier to make extreme statements when you don’t know to whom you are making them. I think there has been quite a lot of work done on this but I don’t have it to hand.


  2. Thanks David
    I’m really interested in how the internet is affecting our behaviour (and with my historical head on, historical precedents!) … Prince William and Kate Middleton are still trending worldwide (nearly 11pm), although their position in relation to Tony Parker (who it appears is divorcing Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives fame) keeps moving!

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