Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools, Facebook, Social Media Marketing

Imitation and Obsolescence – Facebook Guns for Twitter

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Revenge is a dish best served via status updates.

When you look in the rearview mirror, you realize the greed and comparative savvy of the leadership of uber-successful online startups has ramifications on us all.

What if Myspace hadn’t sold to Fox? What if Yahoo had sold to Microsoft? What if Google hadn’t purchased YouTube? In each instance, the online world would be different today.

The same is true with the burgeoning fight between Facebook and Twitter. As you may remember, Facebook tried to purchase the plucky, 140-character interloper a while back for a reported $500 million. Not bad to be sure, but far less than YouTube’s $1.65 billion, or MySpace’s $580 million (in 2005 dollars). Regardless of the soundness of their perceived self-worth, Twitter rejected Facebook like a cheerleader asked to dance by the marching band tuba player.

So, like any spurned suitor, Facebook vowed revenge. Whether they actually said “I will crush you” in a thick Russian accent is immaterial. Their subsequent actions speak plenty loud.

@putyououtofbusiness

There are three recent Facebook developments that should have Twitter sweating like Dom Deluise in a full-length mink:

1. Facebook as Messaging Hub

Using third party tools like Tweet Deck and Seesmic Desktop (both excellent, by the way), you’ve been able to handily update your Facebook status from Twitter for a while now. But while Twitter does status updates and nothing more, Facebook does status updates plus an entire eco-system of applications, content, etc. Thus, having Twitter being the conduit by which people announced the details of their current circumstance must have been highly irksome to Facebook.

Facebook to Twitter Imitation and Obsolescence   Facebook Guns for TwitterSo, they turned the tables.

Now, fan pages (no personal usage yet) are able to automatically update their Twitter status from Facebook. This may not be an ideal approach for all companies and organizations, but it certainly can create some efficiencies for time-starved social media managers – especially for small and mid-sized players.

Theatrikos Theatre Theatrikos on Twitter 300x103 Imitation and Obsolescence   Facebook Guns for TwitterA key difference between Facebook and Twitter status updates of course is that Facebook doesn’t have a character limit for the most part. And, they don’t have a character counter, either. So, in an insidious move, if you create a Facebook status message that exceeds Twitter’s 140 characters, it automatically truncates and adds a link back to Facebook. Plus, the tweets are branded as coming from Facebook (per Twitter’s API).

2. Facebook as Name Dropper

The real genius of Twitter has always been the ability to name check friends and potential friends, knowing that they would most likely see your note in their “replies” or by doing searches for their Twitter handle. It’s like an extremely complex, asynchronous collective of CB Radio afficianados.

But now Facebook wants in on that action, too. They recently began facilitating the inclusion of your friends’ names, organization names, company names, etc. in Facebook status updates. The functional mechanism for this is quite nifty, as you don’t have to remember your friends’ handles (increasingly a problem on Twitter). You just have to type @ and the first couple letters of your friends’ name or the business name, and Facebook presents matches from your list of friends and pages of which you’re a fan. Slick.

Facebook Home 300x129 Imitation and Obsolescence   Facebook Guns for Twitter

When you include your friends’ names or brand names in your status updates, they are alerted to that fact via email, or through other means, depending upon how they have their Facebook communication protocols set. This is going to make Facebook a LOT more social.

I believe this will break down one of the last cultural differences between Twitter and Facebook in that people “follow” many people (thousands in my case) on Twitter whom they don’t really know at all, but most folks restrict Facebook friends to people they actually know (or used to know). That’s going to change, and name drops in status messaging (hopefully in comments soon, too) will power the transformation.

3. Lo-Cal Facebook

The recently released Facebook Lite is ostensibly targeted at developing countries where broadband access is limited. But for many folks (including me) Facebook Lite may just be the preferred version of Facebook, regardless of connection speed.

Facebook Home 1 300x138 Imitation and Obsolescence   Facebook Guns for Twitter

Facebook Lite is basically Twitter, with some notifications of birthdays and events. In fact, having birthdays and events at the top of the page, rather than stashed in the bottom right corner, is in itself a big advantage. (My friend Joe Manna actually created a “Move Facebook events to the top” group about this issue).

Like Coke Zero, this lite version strips Facebook down to its essential elements, leaving out the crap that just gets in the way. No snowbowl fights. No applications. No quizzes. No nonsense.

Now, if you’re a company that’s looking to activate your customers using a Facebook application, widespread adoption of Lite could be an issue for your usage. But for Twitter, widespread adoption of Lite could be bad news indeed, as it emulates Twitter’s ease-of-use, while tapping into a much larger global user base.

Arrangements Being Handled by Mashable Funeral Home

Do I think Twitter is going out of business? (if you’ve never generated any revenue, are you actually “in business”?) No, I don’t. But, the Twitter community has changed dramatically as it has grown, making it less special, less interesting, and more overrun with get-rich-quick ridiculousness. Combined with Facebook’s all-too-serious moves to emulate the best of Twitter, I’m not sure I’d want to build a social media program that’s Twitter-centric.

But maybe it’s just me. What do you think? Is it curtains for Twitter?

  • Sue Densmore

    I think Twitter and FB still serve two different purposes, and both will always be what you make of them. All this imitation on FB has me NOT checking my page, actually. This is the first I’ve heard of FB Lite, so maybe I would try that. But I can’t see FB as a substitute for Twitter.

    For me, they are two different communities. My personal friends, former students, and such are my FB friends. but on Twitter, I am able to find random interesting people from whom I can learn, and with whom I can develop new friendships. I don’t see that as something I can effectively do on FB.

    So I wouldn’t toll the bells for Twitter just yet.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      Hi Sue. Thanks so much for the comment. I agree that the two communities are different for now. But the Twitter community arose based on the unique (and stripped down) functionality of Twitter. Facebook can (and is) emulating that. Given Facebook’s much larger audience, wouldn’t you be able to find even more interesting people there?

    • Andrea Kuieck

      I absolutely agree with Sue Densmore, word for word here: “My personal friends, former students, and such are my FB friends. but on Twitter, I am able to find random interesting people from whom I can learn, and with whom I can develop new friendships.”

      Twitter is way more random and interesting than facebook. Facebook is way more intimate and familiar than Twitter.

  • http://YourWebsite Sue Densmore

    I think Twitter and FB still serve two different purposes, and both will always be what you make of them. All this imitation on FB has me NOT checking my page, actually. This is the first I’ve heard of FB Lite, so maybe I would try that. But I can’t see FB as a substitute for Twitter.

    For me, they are two different communities. My personal friends, former students, and such are my FB friends. but on Twitter, I am able to find random interesting people from whom I can learn, and with whom I can develop new friendships. I don’t see that as something I can effectively do on FB.

    So I wouldn’t toll the bells for Twitter just yet.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      Hi Sue. Thanks so much for the comment. I agree that the two communities are different for now. But the Twitter community arose based on the unique (and stripped down) functionality of Twitter. Facebook can (and is) emulating that. Given Facebook’s much larger audience, wouldn’t you be able to find even more interesting people there?

    • http://YourWebsite Andrea Kuieck

      I absolutely agree with Sue Densmore, word for word here: “My personal friends, former students, and such are my FB friends. but on Twitter, I am able to find random interesting people from whom I can learn, and with whom I can develop new friendships.”

      Twitter is way more random and interesting than facebook. Facebook is way more intimate and familiar than Twitter.

  • http://www.jeffersonstolarship.com/ Jeff Stolarcyk

    File this under “it’s just me,” but I still use Twitter and FB differently enough that I don’t want to see one turn into the other.

    • Amy

      I’m with Jeff…I use them differently, and Facebook will never become Twitter for me.

      I do like the @friend mentioning that FB put in…mostly because it amuses me, not for any other reason.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      I’m not sure I want them to turn into each other either, but I’m not sure that’s our decision to make.

  • http://www.jeffersonstolarship.com Jeff Stolarcyk

    File this under “it’s just me,” but I still use Twitter and FB differently enough that I don’t want to see one turn into the other.

    • http://YourWebsite Amy

      I’m with Jeff…I use them differently, and Facebook will never become Twitter for me.

      I do like the @friend mentioning that FB put in…mostly because it amuses me, not for any other reason.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      I’m not sure I want them to turn into each other either, but I’m not sure that’s our decision to make.

  • http://thelostjacket.com/ Stuart Foster

    I think the biggest mistake Facebook can make is trying to challenge an inferior opponent.

    It’s a losing battle. Facebook already has more capabilities and a niche (and a HUGE one at that) that is in no danger of being usurped.

    It’s a tougher sell for businesses to integrate with Facebook then Twitter. Because often Twitter takes less commitment and it is more acceptable to engage with potential customers.
    .-= Stuart Foster´s last blog ..Imagination =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      I wouldn’t even say Facebook has a niche. With more than 300 million members, that’s a big niche. That’s why they are trying to take Twitter’s candy. With that size, they can take EVERYONE’s candy if they want to.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    I think the biggest mistake Facebook can make is trying to challenge an inferior opponent.

    It’s a losing battle. Facebook already has more capabilities and a niche (and a HUGE one at that) that is in no danger of being usurped.

    It’s a tougher sell for businesses to integrate with Facebook then Twitter. Because often Twitter takes less commitment and it is more acceptable to engage with potential customers.
    .-= Stuart Foster´s last blog ..Imagination =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      I wouldn’t even say Facebook has a niche. With more than 300 million members, that’s a big niche. That’s why they are trying to take Twitter’s candy. With that size, they can take EVERYONE’s candy if they want to.

  • http://www.annamorrison.net/ Anna Morrison

    I think it certainly is “curtains for Twitter” although I’m not sure it will happen anytime soon (there are still lots of devoted Twitter fans out there – including me!) nor if it will be a direct result of the three Facebook moves mentioned above.

    Although Facebook is certainly using some of the best features of Twitter — it will only serve to enhance the Facebook interface, rather than dragging fans of Twitter away. I think Twitter’s eventual demise will probably hinge on something entirely different (that Facebook, along with some others, happens to do much better): localization. For the average Twitter user, it simply takes too much time to find a “niche”, or a localized market, (be it events/people relating to their particular city, or events/people related to their particular special interest) with which to interact. Facebook, and platforms like Yelp, foursquare, etc do this very, very well.

    Devoted Twitter fans will continue to spend the time to find/make their local niche –Twitter isn’t leaving anytime soon– but for many people, there are plenty of better options.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      Anna – Excellent point about location and its ability to create instant connections. Twitter is getting serious about location. We’ll see if that keeps the wolves away for a while. Great comment. Thank you.

  • http://www.annamorrison.net Anna Morrison

    I think it certainly is “curtains for Twitter” although I’m not sure it will happen anytime soon (there are still lots of devoted Twitter fans out there – including me!) nor if it will be a direct result of the three Facebook moves mentioned above.

    Although Facebook is certainly using some of the best features of Twitter — it will only serve to enhance the Facebook interface, rather than dragging fans of Twitter away. I think Twitter’s eventual demise will probably hinge on something entirely different (that Facebook, along with some others, happens to do much better): localization. For the average Twitter user, it simply takes too much time to find a “niche”, or a localized market, (be it events/people relating to their particular city, or events/people related to their particular special interest) with which to interact. Facebook, and platforms like Yelp, foursquare, etc do this very, very well.

    Devoted Twitter fans will continue to spend the time to find/make their local niche –Twitter isn’t leaving anytime soon– but for many people, there are plenty of better options.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      Anna – Excellent point about location and its ability to create instant connections. Twitter is getting serious about location. We’ll see if that keeps the wolves away for a while. Great comment. Thank you.

  • http://www.beachbettypr.com/ Shelly Cone/Beach Betty Public

    I don’t know, I’m not liking Twitter much these days. It is just full of get rich quick posts or headline retweets. I sometimes scour the posts looking for someone saying something interesting or something I can comment on. Facebook is becoming a lot more social and I’m coming back to it more frequently these days.
    .-= Shelly Cone/Beach Betty Public Relations’´s last blog ..Why You Shouldn’t Count on Millennials =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      I hear you Shelly. Twitter is getting a little nuts. Seems like Facebook has a better signal to noise ratio for many people, but that’s mostly because folks seem to be more selective in terms of their Facebook connections.

  • http://www.beachbettypr.com Shelly Cone/Beach Betty Public Relation

    I don’t know, I’m not liking Twitter much these days. It is just full of get rich quick posts or headline retweets. I sometimes scour the posts looking for someone saying something interesting or something I can comment on. Facebook is becoming a lot more social and I’m coming back to it more frequently these days.
    .-= Shelly Cone/Beach Betty Public Relations’´s last blog ..Why You Shouldn’t Count on Millennials =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      I hear you Shelly. Twitter is getting a little nuts. Seems like Facebook has a better signal to noise ratio for many people, but that’s mostly because folks seem to be more selective in terms of their Facebook connections.

  • http://www.notwillsmith.com/ William Smith

    I can’t lie – this is the post I have been waiting for you to write for a long time now. Bravo!
    .-= William Smith´s last blog ..How the terrorists won =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      Writes the Facebook lover….I’m not saying I prefer Facebook. In some ways I do, in others I don’t. But from a purely business standpoint, I think Twitter has a tough road ahead.

  • http://www.notwillsmith.com William Smith

    I can’t lie – this is the post I have been waiting for you to write for a long time now. Bravo!
    .-= William Smith´s last blog ..How the terrorists won =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      Writes the Facebook lover….I’m not saying I prefer Facebook. In some ways I do, in others I don’t. But from a purely business standpoint, I think Twitter has a tough road ahead.

  • http://sashadentremont.wordpress.com/ Sasha

    I use Seesmic and it also provides the dropdown list of friends names as you type @ and the first couple of letters.
    .-= Sasha´s last blog ..Yellow Pages – Get Your Work Noticed – clever marketing =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      Excellent Sasha. Thanks for that tip. I haven’t logged in on Seesmic for a while. I’ll check it out.

  • http://sashadentremont.wordpress.com Sasha

    I use Seesmic and it also provides the dropdown list of friends names as you type @ and the first couple of letters.
    .-= Sasha´s last blog ..Yellow Pages – Get Your Work Noticed – clever marketing =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      Excellent Sasha. Thanks for that tip. I haven’t logged in on Seesmic for a while. I’ll check it out.

  • http://www.offmadisonave.com/ Roger Hurni

    Great post Jason. Personally, I’m a little tired of feeling like I’m watching a tennis match between the two.

  • http://www.offmadisonave.com Roger Hurni

    Great post Jason. Personally, I’m a little tired of feeling like I’m watching a tennis match between the two.

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethsosnow/status/4326673720 Elizabeth Sosnow

    Is FB making Twitter sweat like Dom Deluise in a full-length mink? via @jaybaer http://chilp.it/?96e568

  • http://twitter.com/kbanks/status/4332513881 Karlsson Banks

    RT @elizabethsosnow Is FB making Twitter sweat like Dom Deluise in a full-length mink? via @jaybaer http://chilp.it/?96e568

  • Chris

    who cares? this is about as boring as “news” gets.

  • http://YourWebsite Chris

    who cares? this is about as boring as “news” gets.

  • Tobi

    I doubt it’s curtains for anyone. This is no different than any competitive dynamic in the market place. The only undoing for Twitter will be if they fail to discover and understand their critical point of differentiation evolving to capitalize on it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      I’m not sure it’s Twitter needing to figure out their differentiator. They already found it. Facebook is now trying to make it less of a differentiator. Twitter needs a new trick. Maybe it will be geo-location?

  • http://YourWebsite Tobi

    I doubt it’s curtains for anyone. This is no different than any competitive dynamic in the market place. The only undoing for Twitter will be if they fail to discover and understand their critical point of differentiation evolving to capitalize on it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      I’m not sure it’s Twitter needing to figure out their differentiator. They already found it. Facebook is now trying to make it less of a differentiator. Twitter needs a new trick. Maybe it will be geo-location?

  • http://theinformedadmin.life-blogs.com/ Danielle

    I have to say that my FB is just for people I actually know in life – I don’t tend to accept friend requests from people I don’t know well and if I do they are on limited status. Twitter on the other hand is for professional development. While I do use FB to some degree for business purposes I create groups and fanpages for that. I don’t think either will die out – they are different and the purposes they serve are different for most people.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Alert! You Should Get Alerted On Industry Topics =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ Jay Baer

      Danielle – I agree. I use the two the same way. I have very few Facebook friends I haven’t met. Conversely, I’ve met very few of my Twitter followers. To me, that remains the most critical difference between the two, because Facebook is certainly closing the functionality gap every day.

      • Michelle

        I agree with you both on the critical difference, and for that reason, I don’t see twitter going any where. With FB, you’re limited to people you know, and you may not always know the right people. It’s a mindset that I don’t see changing any time soon.

  • http://theinformedadmin.life-blogs.com Danielle

    I have to say that my FB is just for people I actually know in life – I don’t tend to accept friend requests from people I don’t know well and if I do they are on limited status. Twitter on the other hand is for professional development. While I do use FB to some degree for business purposes I create groups and fanpages for that. I don’t think either will die out – they are different and the purposes they serve are different for most people.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Alert! You Should Get Alerted On Industry Topics =-.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com Jay Baer

      Danielle – I agree. I use the two the same way. I have very few Facebook friends I haven’t met. Conversely, I’ve met very few of my Twitter followers. To me, that remains the most critical difference between the two, because Facebook is certainly closing the functionality gap every day.

      • http://YourWebsite Michelle

        I agree with you both on the critical difference, and for that reason, I don’t see twitter going any where. With FB, you’re limited to people you know, and you may not always know the right people. It’s a mindset that I don’t see changing any time soon.

  • http://aprilmgeer.com/ April

    I think Twitter and FB will be able to coexist, FB just finally realized they have to compete a little – but for the vast majority of Twitter users, FB serves a compeltely different purpose than Twitter.

    I also wrote an article on my synthesis of the addition of the @mention in FB (however I need to research FB Lite a little to update my position a little)
    .-= April´s last blog ..FB’s Addition of @Mentions : Throwing in the Towel? =-.

  • http://aprilmgeer.com April

    I think Twitter and FB will be able to coexist, FB just finally realized they have to compete a little – but for the vast majority of Twitter users, FB serves a compeltely different purpose than Twitter.

    I also wrote an article on my synthesis of the addition of the @mention in FB (however I need to research FB Lite a little to update my position a little)
    .-= April´s last blog ..FB’s Addition of @Mentions : Throwing in the Towel? =-.

  • Brendan McManus

    Facebook to Twitter—We will crush you: http://j.mp/CeIMi –Share: http://bit.ly/Uq0BF http://bit.ly/hLQ9a #news #twitter

  • http://twitter.com/rositia/status/4346431013 rosa a mendiola chio

    RT @Twitter_Tips Facebook to Twitter—We will crush you: http://j.mp/CeIMi –Share: http://bit.ly/vpngj

  • http://twitter.com/redphantom/status/4347187350 Rick Barron

    RT @Twitter_Tips Facebook to Twitter—We will crush you: http://j.mp/CeIMi –Share: http://bit.ly/vpngj

  • http://twitter.com/annemarsden/status/4347275360 Anne Marsden

    RT @jaybaer: How Facebook plans to kill Twitter. http://bit.ly/4n6gjE And we all reap the benefits….

  • http://twitter.com/dianearees/status/4351243987 Diane A. Rees

    Bit of healthy competition btwn
    FB & Twitter RT @Twitter_Tips: Facebook to Twitter—We will crush you: http://j.mp/CeIMi (via @searchguru)

  • http://twitter.com/diplead/status/4351534894 Diana P. Lead

    Bit of healthy competition btwn
    FB & Twitter RT @Twitter_Tips: Facebook to Twitter—We will crush you: http://j.mp/CeIMi (via @DianeARees)

  • http://twitter.com/jzabalo/status/4413824492 Juantxo Zabalo

    Imitation and Obsolescence – Facebook Guns for Twitter http://tinyurl.com/nnsp3p

  • http://twitter.com/neicolec/status/4448985248 Neicole Crepeau

    If Facebook going to kill Twitter after all? http://bit.ly/15AmnY

  • http://twitter.com/carolinemelberg/status/4459949943 Caroline Melberg

    RT @DataDoctorsMpls @jaybaer Facebook turns its guns on Twitter http://bit.ly/4n6gjE

  • http://twitter.com/janetroper/status/4459993391 JanetRoper

    RT @CarolineMelberg: RT @DataDoctorsMpls @jaybaer Facebook turns its guns on Twitter http://bit.ly/4n6gjE

  • http://www.buzzmarketingaz.com/ Leslie Sonnenklar

    I, like many others, use both Twitter and FB differently. Like you mentioned, I know 99% of the people that are my “friends” on FB but have met or know very few of my “followers” on Twitter. I do believe however that Twitter will become less prominent as a marketing tool and another social media tool will take it’s place. Just as Myspace was an initiator in social media years ago, and now very few even mention Myspace when talking about social media.
    .-= Leslie Sonnenklar´s last blog ..five key elements of a sound social media strategy =-.

  • http://www.buzzmarketingaz.com Leslie Sonnenklar

    I, like many others, use both Twitter and FB differently. Like you mentioned, I know 99% of the people that are my “friends” on FB but have met or know very few of my “followers” on Twitter. I do believe however that Twitter will become less prominent as a marketing tool and another social media tool will take it’s place. Just as Myspace was an initiator in social media years ago, and now very few even mention Myspace when talking about social media.
    .-= Leslie Sonnenklar´s last blog ..five key elements of a sound social media strategy =-.

  • http://twitter.com/mrakashsharma/status/5236655924 Akash Sharma

    Imitation and Obsolescence – Facebook Guns for Twitter http://bit.ly/1w6vPS From | Convince and Convert |

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/