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Facebook or Twitter: Which is Better for News-Gathering?

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With the news last week that more Americans use social networks as a source of use than use traditional media, and that Twitter has passed the 10 billion tweet mark, it’s obvious that social media is an increasingly important source of discovering and disseminating news. If Facebook and Twitter are the main arenas for such activity, which one is the best for finding and keeping news?

Facebook has the obvious advantage of allowing you to post links to news items with a brief snippet of the article. Your friends can also show their approval and leave comments which are threaded underneath the link, allowing for easy discussions. In contrast, Twitter only allows for short snippets, usually just the headline and a link to the relevant article. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but @ replies can be awkward to track, especially without the right tools, and unless you have something like HootSuite‘s awesome threaded conversations, it’s something can that can feel like more hassle than it’s worth.

But while news feels transient, there are times when you wish you could remember what that one headline that will help with a report, or that included figures that you’d like to cite. This is where Facebook comes unstuck. It isn’t especially hard to track down a particular headline, provided you don’t update more than a few dozen headlines a day. Where it all comes apart, however, is when you have a few hundred headlines a day and multiple friends doing the same thing. Unless you are very strict and monitor your friends and lists obsessively, it could quickly become overwhelming.

It’s time to turn to Twitter, if only because there are you can search through your own tweets and other people’s with relative ease. For a news junkie like me, I find that unless I think a headline will be particularly interesting to one of my Facebook friends, I tend to stick to Twitter. Keying in a search term for my past tweets is far easier than trawling through all of my old Faceboook updates, and not only that, but there are also all sorts of tools I can use to go through my Twitter archive to find things I’ve almost forgotten!

Facebook may be ahead when it comes to starting a conversation, but Twitter pulls back the lead whe it comes to keeping links and headlines for posterity. For some people, it may not matter, but for anyone who will reads a headline, posts it to their social network, and tells themselves that they will come back later to address it in more detail, Twitter is where it’s at. I’ve been archiving my tweets on a monthly basis for a while now, and I don’t think I’m going to stop any time soon.

[Image by Lioman123]

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