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Should you start your social media experience on Facebook or Twitter?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present a seminar to real estate agents on social media. The event was not only informative, but fun as well. The crowd gave ample feedback and eagerly participated.

During an open Q&A session, one of the attendees remarked about how he was feeling overwhelmed. Admittedly, there was a lot of knowledge shared.

It’s easy to see how information overload might’ve been at play. He asked, “for someone who is new to social media, would Facebook or Twitter be the best place to get started?”

It was a question I hadn’t thought about much before; however, it was an interesting one. My first inclination was to suggest Twitter. I figured that for someone who didn’t even know much about blogging, Twitter would be a great start.

The social networking and micro-blogging site has, what I call, “low barriers.” In other words, it’s fairly easy to sign-up, get the hang of it, and start using it proficiently — especially when compared to more robust and complicated sites and services.

Another attendee soon offered his thoughts regarding the question. He suggested that, for someone starting out in social media, Facebook would be a fantastic way to start. The more we discussed it, the more I began to share his views.

Granted, Facebook is a little more complicated when compared to Twitter in terms of setup and learning curves. However, once you get the ball rolling, it’s very easy to get “sucked in” and engaged.

One of the main advantages that Facebook has over Twitter in this regard seems to be the sheer number of people who are on the site. Twitter, for all of the mainstream attention and media focus it’s been getting lately, is still a relatively new phenomenon.

To put this in perspective: Facebook has over 200 million active members. Twitter, according to one service, has around 14 million.

This enormous disparity means that, for someone who is just starting to explore social media, you’ll have a much higher chance of connecting and engaging with someone you know on Facebook than on Twitter.

That fact alone changes the entire argument. If one of the main points of social media is to be — well, social — then it stands to reason that you’re going to have a better chance of doing that on a site where most of your friends, family, former crushers, church members, business partners, and colleagues hang out.

In addition, Facebook is much more robust than Twitter. The ability to share videos, photos, and other chunks of hypertext is built directly into the Facebook platform. On Twitter, much of its extended functionality comes from outside, or “3rd party” sources like Twitpic and Tweetlater.

Make no mistake about it, Twitter is a rising star in the social media sphere. And I think it’s safe to say that it’s the media darling at the moment. Everyone from CNN anchors and Ashton Kutcher to rap impresario, Diddy, and even media tycoon, Oprah Winfrey are talking about Twitter.

However, if you’re a total and complete stranger to social media, your best bet for understanding, engaging, and benefiting from it, would be to dive in head first and join Facebook.

Although, if you’re the multi-tasking type, feel free to go crazy and get started by using both. Hey, you only live once, right?

About The Author

Carol Hansen, a Twitter specialist focusing on building and monetizing your network. You can connect with Carol on Twitter or Facebook and follow her latest projects, blog posts and cool tips on building and monetizing your Twitter following.

About The Author

Dali Burgado, also known as "The Dali Blogger" teaches creative entrepreneurs how to carve a web presence that connects with their Inner Guru and their target audience. Her first online marketing love is SEO. She's an avid connector on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. When she's not coaching or teaching, she's tweaking sites for Search Engine Visibility, working on her PHP and Javascript coding skills, Singing Opera, or learning about gardening. Circle Dali on Google+

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