Facebook vs. Twitter: What’s most viral?

Going viral in the real world can mean swine flu or some other nasty bug. But in the social networking universe, going viral can translate into  lots of attention and, potentially, revenue.

Right now, most business leaders are struggling to figure out if they need a social networking strategy or, if they have one, where they’ll get the most bang for their buck.

A recent comparison of the viral nature of a news item on two hot social networking sites can offer some insight into where your efforts might be directed when using these new and valuable tools.

Case in point:  Michael Jackson’s death.

DC techie and community manager Justin Thorp of Clearspring/Add This created a cool little graphic that charted what social networks or social book marking sites news about Michael Jackson death was “Shared” to. Peter Corbett at iStrategylabs.com posted it on his site. (For the tech challenged — and that includes many of us —  Thorp was looking at how news about Jackson quickly spread via social networking sites.)

The top two contenders for spreading the news, according to Thorp’s graph, were Facebook and Twitter.

Seems that news of Michael Jackon’s death was shared to Facebook almost 7 million times in a 10 second period while it was shared to Twitter at about 1.3 million times in that 10 second period.

That’s a 500% difference.

So if your organization wants to run a “buzz” marketing campaign — as in, create some buzz around your product or industry — it would seem that Facebook’s the place you may want to throw your time and resources.

0 thoughts on “Facebook vs. Twitter: What’s most viral?”

  1. So you have a problem in your conclusion. FB is ~350 million users and Twitter is ~50 million. So to compare apples to apples specific to what platform is more viral you need to normalize your numbers by multiplying the Twitter results by 7. (350M/50M = 7).

    That means Twitter’s normalized number is 7 X 1.3M or 10.1M “shares” on a normalized basis.

    So your conclusion of “where to market” may remain the same, in that on FB you get more gross shares/views.

    But with respect to which is more viral, the conclusion is the exact opposite.
    Twitter is significantly more viral.

    FB just has a 7X broader reach.


  2. From a non-old person’s point of view, that’s the genius of Twitter: someone already posts it, so most times you won’t repost whats already there. They probably didnt include retweets either.

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