Thursday, March 05, 2009

Facetweet - Will Facebook Kill Twitter?

Well - as seen on numerous blogs around the world today - it's finally come out that Facebook really DID try to buy Twitter last fall. There had been rumors all over the place that Mark and team was vying to snap up the microblogging site - and roll it into their own offering.

So after the negotiations had come to an unfruitful end (from Facebook's perspective) - they took a play out of the Gates handbook for business 101 - and just decided to build their own microblog format. I say good for them!

Now I don't know Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter personally, and I don't have any inside information as to what they have in the works - but it just seems to me that if someone like Mark Zuckerberg and team come to you and want to buy your brand (for an "undisclosed sum" - read: HUGE cash) - then unless you have a really, really, really good plan to monetize your platform - you should just sell the damn thing.

I mean, really! So, you invented the space of microblogging. Bully for you! It's still not really caught on to the mainstream yet - and your own site's features are so anemic that a whole industry and dozens of others have stepped into the ecosystem to siphon off users from your site (read: less eyeballs for ads)...

So, you have a super simple site - which is a good thing. You have a medium that lots of tech folks (and PR folks) use as sort of a "live AP" feed - also good.

But... ummm... the idea and the tech behind it are... well... just NOT that hard to re-create. The barrier of entry to create another service just like yours is, well, trivial. Just look at all the Twitter-like, me-too spin offs that have come about.

Yeah, you have first-mover advantage, but the Facebook people have a little think called "150 million registered users." Oh, and a valuation that's backed by the largest software company in the world - Microsoft. Oh, and some really, really smart people.... AND... a really robust infrastructure.... AND... did I mention 150 million registered users?

I think it's a good thing that Facebook will put in a microblogging feature - I think that people will use it and that it will really be a welcomed addition to their service. In a way - it's already there. You can see the status updates of your friends, get a "live feed" of what others are doing... so it just makes sense that if you could "broadcast" your status to anyone... you're done.

So - Twitter - unless you're going to announce something (and soon) - I'm afraid you'll be relegated to the MySpace bid of "cool idea, first-mover advantage" slow death. The difference is - you didn't sell out for $850 (while the getting was good).

I hope I'm wrong. Maybe all the people who are addicted to Twitter will continue to tweet forever. I'm sure that people who have used the service for a long time will continue to use it. However, all the "new" people who are just discovering social media (both individuals and businesses) - they WILL sign up for Facebook.

And when they do - they will have a new option to "broadcast" their stuff to anyone on the Internet - as well as to "subscribe" to other feeds. All in the CONTEXT of their friends, customers and other relationships.

OR - they could choose to go to yet another source, start cross posting (or do what I do - and use the EXCELLENT to do it for me) and reading two sets of feeds.

Ummmm... yeah. In-context feeds all in one aggregated place with the largest social network on the planet - or a spartan interface in scrolling format.

My money's on Facebook to win and Twitter to place.

No comments:

Web Analytics