The Twitterfication of Facebook

fb_icon_325x325“Facebook is for people you know, and Twitter is for people you’d like to know.”

At least that’s how it started. Of course, in the history of social networking, and the new world that it has created, that’s the mantra that the early adopters of Twitter used. And it was true at the time. Celebrities were just starting to get on board, but it was more than that. In the early days of Twitter you didn’t just find your friends and follow them. In fact, you assumed they weren’t there. It was an organic discovery of people who just put out info, and jokes, that you liked.

Facebook has never been that. And try as they might, they can’t seem to become that. They, much more quickly than Twitter, were able to recognize the need for a separate way of using the platform for business, and Facebook pages were born. But what about connecting with actual people? Most people are wary of friending someone they don’t know, and rightfully so. That’s not really what it was created for. So celebrities and other well known content providers began using Facebook pages the same way that businesses did. And yet, it’s rare that you think, “I really need to connect with that actor on Facebook.” ¬†Simply put, pages are for organizations and profiles are for people.

That’s why Facebook rolled out the “following” function for profiles. But who has really adopted it? It was meant to be the one sided interaction, Facebook’s answer to following without a mutual interaction.

Facebook also has recently recognized that even though it’s a real time medium, it doesn’t have that same real time feel as Twitter. So to solve a problem that no one knew needed a solution they brought in trending topics functionality to mimic what is happening on Twitter. Again, it’s been little to now interest from users.

And thus is the problem with Facebook, much the opposite of the problem of Twitter. Each one wants to be the other. And as they move closer and closer to being the same thing, they constantly risk alienating the users that bought into the networks in the first place.

But the good news, for Facebook and Twitter, they’re each nearing “too big to fail” levels of usage. So from a marketing perspective, they remain places that can’t be ignored… and as they continue their evolution, businesses need the help of professionals to navigate the ever changing landscape.

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