Is it time for a Facebook diet?

For novice and occasional users, Facebook has too many calories, especially compared to low-fat competition from Twitter. But help is on the way for Facebook users seeking a social networking diet. Facebook Lite is almost ready for launch.

liteMy teaching gig doesn’t necessarily require me to use Facebook and Twitter, but maintaining accounts with each sometimes helps me observe the way others use these media. And like most college professors, I can’t resist giving my opinion.

Because of the wide range of media and feeds it encompasses, Facebook can seem overwhelming to some casual users. If you go on a friend-making binge at signup, two months later you may feel the need to purge yourself of the fringe friends who primarily contribute meaningless junk to your wall.

Because of its immediacy and stripped-down simplicity, Twitter can seem like it gives a user more control. Also, many media outlets probably prefer Twitter because it gives back some ability to prioritize content (like they did in the old days of print newspapers and widely watched evening TV newscasts). For example, I follow the Twitter feed for the Lawrence Journal World, and I trust editors there to tweet about the most current and relevant content for the majority of the local audience. By contrast, when I check most RSS news feeds on my BlackBerry, I just see an exhaustive list of headlines often generated by a content management system, and I have to sort through all of the headlines to determine which are drivel, which are rewrites or updates of previous stories, and which are really relevant and new.

Perhaps Facebook Lite is Facebook’s attempt to replicate the simplicity of Twitter. Many of us in the 40-something crowd have waist lines that would seem to suggest Bud Light is a better choice than Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. We may embrace Facebook Lite as well.

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~ by bakerumedia on August 13, 2009.

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