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Why Your Kid Should Be On Twitter, Not Facebook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I reckon you do the same as me. A post by a Facebook (FB - Get Report) friend includes "See More" at the bottom and you are on to the next status update.

Because Facebook gives every random spare carte blanche to say whatever they want -- in long form -- you probably like Twitter more.

That's just one of many reasons why Twitter provides the better social platform, even though Facebook will end up a $100 stock.

In most forms of communication, brevity rules. The shorter the better and, often, more powerful. Twitter limits users to 140 characters, sometimes less. If you include a link, Twitter sets you back to far fewer than 140. At Facebook you can, relatively speaking, go on for what seems like forever.

People do. It's unfortunate, particularly after tragic events like the shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Are the people who populate your Facebook page just ignorant dolts? You'd like to think they're not. A gay slur or racist comment here or there. Sexist quips. You just brush these things off, hoping for the best.

Then, after something as mindnumbing as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, there's always somebody ready to haul off and show true idiocy on Facebook. I'm not saying this never happens on Twitter. It does. Lots of cats have landed in serious trouble for an ill-advised Tweet even after instantly deleting it.

I'm just saying it's less likely you'll find downright offensive or plain stupid stuff on your Twitter feed.

As I noted in Why Twitter Will Live and Facebook Will Die from late August, Twitter stands superior to Facebook.

In that article I focus on Twitter as "The Modern Day Newspaper." When a story breaks, we instinctively go to Twitter to get details, gauge reaction and make immediate and important social-emotional connections.

Later in the year, I introduced the notion of Twitter as the modern day autograph. Forgive me for sounding melodramatic, but Twitter is net good for society. Unlike Facebook, its format encourages creativity and thoughtfulness.

As a writer, I pay close attention to the ways we use words. Believe it or not, most articles I write start out anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 words longer than the finished product. A graduate school professor from UC-Irvine, Kris Day, now at NYU Polytechnic Institute taught me to "economize words." One of the best lessons I ever learned in school. Period. A three-minute record never taught me more.

I go through everything I write now looking to combine two or three sentences into one and omitting needless words and phrases such as "that" or "I think." (You wrote the article, you idiot, so, of course, it's "I think!") It feels fantastic to make a point more concisely after about two to three dozen proofreads.

Twitter pushes us to be more thoughtful and careful when we post to social media. We perceive a savvier, more intellectual audience on Twitter -- or at least I think "we" do (sometimes you just cannot avoid an I think!). Plus, we have real constraint, re: getting our points across. There's probably not a better way to ensure quality in any type of prose -- set tough limits.

That's one reason why I despise apps and extensions such as TwitLonger. If I want to see somebody write more than 140 characters on social media, I'll go to Facebook.

As a Twitter user, you pick and choose who you follow. It's not like Facebook where you have sympathy follows. That difference, right away, makes your feed that much better. The quick-hit format of Twitter, interestingly, leads the user to much richer content than we get on the typical Facebook timeline.

Tweeting is a skill. Facebook is like making babies.

Every kid should have a Twitter account (yet, it's likely accurate to say more kids have Facebook accounts). Entire classrooms should use Twitter.

When you write a Tweet, often you want people to read what comes after the Tweet. Sometimes that's a pretty good -- and often long -- article or video or other form of media that your follower might not have engaged with otherwise.

Brevity. Precision. Persuasion. News. Information. Discussion. Discovery.

That's what Twitter is all about. While I'm not opposed to a child having a somewhat closely monitored Facebook account, it will probably help them out in life and living to learn the art of Tweeting before they figure out how to play games, chat with friends or repost inane status updates on Facebook.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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