Twitter vs. Facebook

I was on a plane the other day, sitting next to Rick, a very nice father of 3.  We were talking about tools and he asked about the difference between ’s status updates and . I stumbled through an answer but got to thinking more about what actually IS the difference?

I recently signed up for Twitter to see what all the fuss is about over there, especially with Facebook having the status updates option. I use Facebook’s status updates to update my status maybe once every few days for big things, but I think Twitter is a better tool for random updates throughout the day. Obviously Facebook has – almost – perfected Social Networking, but here’s why I think I’ll use both, for now at least.

1. Status updates without having to be friends. My friends on Facebook don’t really care about my thoughts on daylight savings time, just like the people following me on Twitter don’t care that I was tailgating down at USC last weekend. I’d like to keep my Facebook friends list just for the people that I might hang out with, or people that I talk to on a regular basis.

2. Public Posting. Twitter allows anyone to go to your twitter page and see what you’re up to (twitter.com/DrLaw) without having to pretend to be your friend on Facebook just to see your updates.  I can also link the twitter updates to this site, something you can’t do with Facebook.

3. My friends don’t care about my random thoughts. By keeping the status updates separate from the tweets (yes, that’s what they’re called if you didn’t know), things stay more organized that way.

TL;DR Version: Facebook for status updates, Twitter for thoughts and musings throughout the day.

SmartGrid and Web 2.0 (Finally!) Defined

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If you’re reading this blog, you most likely are either an internet person or a power person, and have thus heard of either or . But can you define either? These all-encompassing terms have become part of the regular lexicon of the modern society (more to come on THAT topic later), where using a broad enough term makes it sounds like you know what you’re talking about, but more importantly, draws investors to whatever you want money for.  But what does having a SmartGrid or Web 2.0 project entail? Let’s explore.

Here are some of the technologies that make up SmartGrid:

  • - : This is of course the first thing that people think about when talking about SmartGrid. “Ohh, we’ll be able to read meters from a central location!” “We can remotely switch power on and off!”
  • - : In our “carbon-constrained” society, people are freaking out about fossil fuels and are willing to do whatever is necessary to use more wind and solar energy, as well as Google now pouring $10 million dollars into Geothermal power.
  • - : Believe it or not, controlling devices in the service territory of an electric utility is NOT an easy task. The pioneers have been doing it for 15 or so years now, and the early majority is just now getting on the wagon. You’re welcome.

Similarly, Web 2.0 has its own examples:

  • - – How many of you don’t have a account? WHY NOT?
  • - – Well, you’re reading this right now, aren’t you? Yep, Web 2.0.
  • - Wiki-freakin-pedia: Who would have thought 10 years ago that the primary source of knowledge would be not in the form of a 32-volume book called an “Encyclopia”. I doubt if kids under 15 can even spell “Encyclopedia”.
  • - : Bookmarking for the 21st century, have them all on one website accessible from anywhere and share them with all your friends! Just make sure to mark your Neopets bookmark as “private” or else everyone will see just how much time you spend on there.

Anytime someone asks me in casual conversation to explain to them either Web 2.0 or SmartGrid without knowledge of the other, I die a little on the inside because I know that they’re not going to come out with any clearer of an understanding. The easiest way to explain Web 2.0 is to say that it’s the internet’s version of the SmartGrid and whereas SmartGrid is Web 2.0 for the power industry. This is because no one is really able to define either of these technologies, we can only give examples.

The best I can give for SmartGrid is: “The ” and for Web 2.0: “The ”, but that’s not very helpful now, is it? Sorry, but not really.