You are probably here because you are a part of, or currently watching some bullshit argument on Facebook about how doing something on Facebook matters, or worse yet, doing something on Twitter instead, does not. Please take the time to understand the very basic facts between Facebook and Twitter. Googlebot and Indexing play a huge part in this process.
Before you can truly understand what indexing means, you need a basic understanding of what it means to even be crawled.
Search Engine Crawling and Indexing
I’m not going to teach this full 101 to anyone, I’d rather give a short breakdown in basic terms most people should be able to understand. If you want to know more, details, reality, statistics, algorithm’s, you are welcome to spend the years it has taken me to learn it myself. Otherwise, here is a very short and crude understanding.
Every time new and publicly accessible content goes up on the net, whether on blogs, websites, or open forums, that information sits, fresh and clean, and undetectable by such things as plagiarism checkers or any search tools, until the web crawlers, also known as spiders, (also now known as GoogleBot) make their rounds around the net. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches.
Search engine indexing collects, parses, and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. Index design incorporates interdisciplinary concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, informatics, physics, and computer science. An alternate name for the process in the context of search engines designed to find web pages on the Internet is web indexing.
Want your Facebook updates to stay off of Google?
If that’s a concern, you needn’t worry. Only people who have changed their privacy settings to Public will have their content show up in Google. Facebook would like you to change that setting, but you don’t need to worry about your private content being sold to Google without your opting-in by changing your settings.
If Facebook is able to prod more users into sharing more content publicly, then it could rival Twitter in importance among real-time sources. Facebook has approximately 10 times as many users as Twitter today, but the fact that its default privacy setting is private means far less content is available for indexing. In addition to a potential for greater quantity, Facebook also holds far more personal information about its users, meaning that search tactics like personalization and localization would have more data points to process.
Public pages, like Facebook or when you turn on the search engine friendly option on your WordPress panel will make pages, contents and the links search engine friendly and easy to be crawled. In that case, using a few links from already indexed web resources would be enough to ensure the FB pages would get indexed and crawled constantly.
The private settings on the other hand will make your contents hidden from most search engines and web crawlers. In that case, even the addition of links to the content will not help that much since the content will still only be accessible to authorized people. (Your friends list)
The Proof is STILL Not in Facebook
Ever go looking for images through Google? If so, you will notice that you never find one single Meme, Photo, or Post in Google with a URL from Facebook. That is because of all of the above. Want to test further? Head to any image on your Facebook wall right now.
You there? Good, your URL will still reflect a Facebook or FB in the string.
Now, click on F5. Got it? Good, now you have the post opened up, down to the nitty gritty.
Still have a Facebook URL? Yes, you do. Now, right-click on the image itself and select “Copy Image Location.”
And paste it into another browser window, a word document, text pad, anywhere. Now, what do you have? What you do NOT have is a Facebook URL. You do have Facebook’s secure photo server address, and yet anything on this URL, also, not making it to any search engines. And for the last time, that is because content from Facebook is NOT indexed by search engines. At best, if you make your account a public one, the only thing you will ever find on a search engine is the link to your Facebook profile.
Facebook Activism, Debate & Entertainment
Unfortunately, because of the privacy issues, or walled compound that Facebook is, activities that are limited to Facebook, on Facebook, such as status posting, thread commenting, picture sharing, and note writing will not be shared with a random person who searches for the topic at hand from a search engine. In that sense, this eliminates Facebook as a true source of activism outside of Facebook itself. No one looking for information on a topic is going to locate a Facebook Fan page or Personal Page link because someone mentioned those things. It is singularly restrictive to any outside growth. Unless, you are aggregating all of your Facebook content manually, or with various tools and plug ins.
Behind the Compound Wall
After all, one of the many reasons to be active against a cause is to help build up YOUR side of the story, the cause, and to do that, you have to have content that is competitive with whomever you oppose. This means blogs, Web 2.0 sites, YouTube videos, and even other digital content such as slide-shares, radio shows, or even digital TV. Placed on the web they become immediate competition when used with the combination of good SEO practices + high quality content, regardless of that content’s platform.
There are some truly great debate sites on Facebook. I enjoy one known as Atheists vs Religion quite often. While technically AvR has no more claim to being an element of ‘online activism’ directly, any good debate site, inside or outside the walled compound of Facebook should be considered a positive attribute, a contribution of information and education. A welcoming debate site that has users and admins who seek answers, learn new questions, share unbiased resources, and encourage free-thinking from all angles might be considered a form of “grouptivism.” Knowledge sharing – a collective breakdown of the topic at hand focused on entertainment as well as encouragement to like-minded users and open to those who want to oppose them.
Unbridled Sharing Power Still Makes Facebook and it’s 1 Billion Users an Impressive Digital Change Maker
Aside from the fact that Facebook doesn’t get indexed, there is literally nothing else to stop it from helping to enact change on just about any topic. Users can and do share important and often up-to-the-minute news and updates in just about any imaginable realm or topic. That doesn’t even count the endless petition shares, additional blogs or websites attached to Facebook profiles, groups and fan pages, and the general awareness that it provides to any and all of the 1 billion users each day.
The usefulness of Twitter is not readily as obvious to some people as Facebook; although it may be more addictive once you get the hang of Tweeting; you get more immediate responses and it seems to live somewhere between the worlds of email, instant messaging and blogging. Twitter encourages constant “linking out” to anywhere and, in that respect, is more analogous to a pure search engine; another way to find people and content all over the Net.
Personally, I hate Twitter. And I have always been hard put find an accurate way to describe it to the masses who also hate it. But in a conversation online recently, (On Facebook), when another user admitted they really were not sure how Twitter worked, another friend made this reference that is actually an apt way to describe in very basic crude terms how Twitter works.
You leave a message on Twitter (the bathroom wall) and then like minded folks (those using the same bathroom) will see the message, remember it, maybe share it. You already share something in common with them, from the choice/type/industry/topic of the establishment that houses the bathroom, down to the gender, if in fact there are separate bathrooms for both genders. This is scraping the bare essence of demographics, but very primitively.
How Does This Differ from Facebook?
Aside from the fact that Facebook is default private, and when public only shows your public profile, Facebook is mostly limited to your family, Facebook friends, friends of Facebook friends, and other acquaintances you may have picked up from around Facebook or other networks. Connections can be limited by your choice of profile and privacy settings in addition to the compound wall constantly surrounding your account.
Twitter is open to the public, except in very specific cases where a user may have blocked their feed to another user, Twitter is an open book. Type in your keywords, #hashtags, famous names, anything and you are given an endless list of 140 character blurbs from all over the globe. Opinions, news, and rumors abound.
Is Twitter a Genuine Tool for Online Activism?
Yes and effectively if used correctly, more powerful when used en mass. There are many instances, statistics, case studies, info-graphics that show that Twitter IS an exceptional tool for its many reasons alone, but also one that has, can and will continue to force changes in some spectrums previously untouched. Political scandal has been one of those instances. Remember when Weiner showed his Weiner on Twitter? Five years ago, Twitter was hardly a blip on the political radar. Now, it’s a social media giant. President Obama recently urged college students to take to Twitter and pressure their representatives on student loan interest rates.
Twitter users can interact with one another in two primary public ways: retweets and mentions. Retweets act as a form of endorsement, allowing individuals to rebroadcast content generated by other users, thereby raising the content’s visibility.
Mentions function differently, allowing someone to address a specific user directly through the public feed, or, to a lesser extent, refer to an individual in the third person. These two means of communication —retweets and mentions— serve distinct and complementary purposes, together acting as the primary mechanisms for explicit, public user-user interaction on Twitter.
The walled compound of Facebook means that what happens on Facebook tends to stay on Facebook. For the most part, none of the content produced on Facebook is repurposed out amongst the blogsphere, this along with a limited volume of daily updates as compared to Twitter, makes Facebook of lesser value to Google from a fresh content perspective.
Twitter however seems to be built to be one giant piece of Google bait. With a fixed field for communication and a feel like that of an instant messaging service, where each message becomes a linkable page, Twitter has developed a massive user generated content system for whatever the Twitter audience might be discussing.
- Twitter vs Facebook
- How to Get Facebook Comments Indexed
- Facebook Will Be Google-able (If Your Profile is Set to Public)
- Facebook Wants You to Be Less Private – But Why?
- Facebook the Walled Garden, Twitter Anything But
- Snopes – Facebook Indexing Myth Revealed
- Did Anthony Weiner Tweet a Picture of His Weiner?
- Twitter: From Infancy To Political Powerhouse
- Political Polarization on Twitter