Twitter VS Instagram

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This spring semester has included the launch of a new on-campus ministry team for me, and of course a new recruiting season for Coach.  This recruiting season I’ve discovered a new trend.  I realize I’m late to the party, but for those of you who might also be late to this party, I’ll say it.  Social media communication platforms have shifted a bit.  It used to be that everyone used Facebook.

Now, recruits are posting their commitment announcements via Twitter. This is actually really cool because they are instantly connected to our coaches, teammates, and fellow commits simply by adding certain phrases.  At the same time, our campus new women’s ministry team chose the platform of Instagram for the promotion of upcoming events.  The Instagram platform is great as well!  A picture can be created and linked in, and of course, there is plenty of room for commenting below.

What I find most intriguing about these social media platform choices is that it seems, men use Twitter, and women used Instagram.  Why is that?

Twitter limits you to 140 characters. You can add links which send you additional places, but the tweet is short and to the point.  Responses are also limited to 140 characters, restricting communication to quick interactions. Acknowledging you like a post has you clicking on a star.

Instagram on the other hand, seems to allow for more to be expressed.  First, drawing on the “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” phrase, Instagram offers the poster to communicate their message with more emotion and plenty of words.  Additionally, comments aren’t limited to characters and acknowledging you like a post is done by clicking a heart.

I realize that there is plenty of over lap, and many people will link their posts via multiple platforms, but I just can’t ignore the primary choice of communication method here. Men traditionally use fewer words each day than women.  They also generally keep their communications factual and to the point.  Women, on the other hand, are known for expressing themselves with many words.  I also think that the ability to create beautiful pictures to anchor posts is very attractive to women.

These communication styles seem to highlight one reason why men and women can listen to each other, but still not truly hear each other.  Relationship experts have been redefining communication styles for years.  Remember “Men, and from Mars, Women are from Venus”?  Perhaps you read Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs who explains that Men speak a language of respect, while women a language of love. Regardless of how it is described, it seems that men and women through the years continue to choose different methods of communication and expression, even when it comes to social media.

So what does this mean?  Well, for this coach’s wife, it means having a Twitter account to re-tweet and like coach’s tweets, favorite commit announcements and keep up with what is going on with on-campus athletics.  It also means having an Instagram account where I can communicate with the women on our campus, help promote events, and keep current with many of my favorite women authors and friends.  For me, it’s also a reminder that men and women will always need to work to make sure they are effectively communicating with each other, even in social media!

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