There has been a lot of talk lately about Facebook trying to acquire or squash Twitter. But, it could never happen. Or, it should never happen. Why?
Let’s start with Facebook, clearly a social network. At its core “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” This means, it is a tool to help people stay in touch with people they already know; family, friends, co-workers, people from your past, etc. It’s where you post pictures, write long bios about your life story, share your music preferences, favorite books and movies, and so on and so on. Along the way Facebook found that it could attract more users if it offered more “stuff.” If Facebook gave people a reason to come back day after day and spend time on the site, then they would…and they have. In record numbers now, people not only visit the site, but they spend time there. I wouldn’t be surprise if people create entire To Do lists solely based on what they need to do on Facebook.
- Upload photos from Gasparilla
- Tag Gasparilla photos
- Update status
- Reply to Inbox messages
- Check Notifications
- Check to see if email contacts have joined Facebook
- Start a High School “Class of…” group
- Add Jason Mraz to “Favorite Artists”
- Search for Jason Mraz fan group
- Check to see what groups friends have joined
- Check out wedding pictures from Miami
The list could go on, but I think you get the idea. And, this list doesn’t even include applications. Facebook almost becomes a chore, but it’s a chore that people are willing to continually work on because the “people in your life” are doing it. It becomes a necessity in your life. You have to check it everyday because if you don’t, then you either miss something in your connections’ lives or you have way to much work to do to catch up.
Twitter is a completely different story.
S.A.T. time: Facebook is to Chores, as Twitter is to???
I say…Eating a fresh baked cookie (the guy across from me at Starbucks is eating a cookie, stay with me on this). That’s right, eating a fresh baked cookie, just out of the oven while it’s still hot and gooey. You don’t have to eat it, in fact, you probably shouldn’t, but you find that you can’t resist it. Why? Because fresh baked gooey chocolate chip cookies steaming hot out of the oven that burn your mouth in that painful, but pleasurable, way give you satisfication; instant gratification. And that’s what Twitter is.
You don’t really need Twitter. You could go to a chatroom or a forum and post your thoughts there, but you dont know that the feedback you get is credible. You could IM your friends, but that’s so 2001. Twitter offers you the opportunity to find the people whom you’ve never met, but have heard about. These are people you respect and people whom you want to know your name.
So, what do you do?
You post Tweets like, “itechmo is reading, Why Facebook isn’t poised to Steal Twitter’s Thunder: http://is.gd/iLWA” because you want Jason Calacanis or Guy Kawasaki to see that you are tech nerd and maybe they will quote you one day in a blog post. Your only To Do is too get your name and Tweet in front of peoples’ eyeballs. So you will seek out those people whom you want to follow. And the cool thing is they don’t have to follow you too. You hope some of them will. You feel like a dork when you only have ten followers and you are trying to get Robert Scoble to follow you. But, you do it anyway, because there is some sense of accomplishment when you actually get to engage one of these people in conversation. And even if they don’t follow you, you still get to see their updates and get a glimpse into their life. You realize that you are reading the same stuff. You feel like you know them a little bit. This is why people flock to certain celebrities, whether they are real or fake.
Twitter moves at a much faster pace. It’s getting closer and closer to real time and I would bet it will be there before too long. News travels across Twitter in a matter of minutes or hours. This is part of the allure, or the addictive nature of Twitter. There is too much going on to look away. There is a lot going on in Facebook too, but it’s not flashing past your eyes as life is happening. At least you can generally scroll down and catch up.
Be careful with Twitter, because just like that cookie, once you try it, you are going to want more.
So fundamentally, these two services are much different. One moves at the speed of the individual user and one moves at the speed of the group. The idea of combining the two makes no sense. If you want your Twitter fix on Facebook, you can always add the Twitter application so you don’t have to leave the site to get your updates. But, please…please don’t start sending your Tweets to your Twitter and Facebook account. I know it seems like it’s easier to just update one service. But respect the people on each service. Your friends, family, and co-workers don’t know what an @reply is and most of them generally don’t care about Tweets…until they sign up for their own Twitter account. And your Twitter followers don’t care that you are baking cookies right now.