With the image that aliens know nothing about this world or even social media, I’d better to describe Facebook and Twitter with simple and understandable words.
In my understanding, Facebook is one famous social media platform found in United States. To know how exactly how it works, we need to know what is social media. “Social” is a kind of communication just like the talking between you and me everyday. “Media” means the tool for communications, like telephone, radio and TV. Nowadays, social media more relies on internet, which is a magic network. On internet, we could use these social media tools for communication by typing with keyboard.
How does Facebook works for people?
Once we create our own account, and input our personal information, here’s a sample homepage for ourselves to manage. On this homepage, we could upload our photos, sentences, and add friends. The photos and sentences could be seen by other Facebook users, and they could give you some comments as well. Also, we could also share and send these infos via messages to other friends. In terms of privacy, you could choose your private level for each of your infos, so once you have strong sense of information security protection, you could use the Facebook casually.
Since Facebook are popular, it begins to develop more applications such as game, events, etc. I need to say, most US people regard it as an indispensable stuff in the daily life. That is also why so many researchers in psychology and HCI field do researches based on facebook.
Twitter is another very popular social media platform in US. However, it is somewhat different from Facebook. Here are the differences:
First, the posts are word limited in Twitter. In other words, it only allows you to post 140 characters for each posts.
Second, it is not a friend-based social network but a follow-based social network. You could follow whoever you want, and whoever also could follow you.
Third, it doesn’t give you the options to choose the private level, which means all of your posts are open to the public.
Fourth, it is mainly based on the hashtag of topic, so that people with the same theme could discuss together. That is also why so many public celebrities and companies or organizations like using Twitter.
Here’s a sample page of mobile Twitter. As you could see you will see all the posts from the people you are following, you also could follow new people, find new topic and write your own tweets.
As for how these social media tools affect the interaction of people, I think its a double sided sword. On one hand, these tools broad people’s social circle and create the opportunities for them to make friends with people all over the world, especially with those who have the common interests and opinions. Also, it accelerate the efficiency and effectiveness for group work. However, it reduce the communication in real scenario, which might weaken the initial social ability of people, which might influence the normal life.