The Twitterfication of Facebook

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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The Facebookification of Twitter

The Facebookification of Twitter

twitter-bird-light-bgsRecently on Timehop I came across an old tweet. I see plenty of my old tweets from 4 or 5 years ago, but occasionally one will show up from the year I first started using Twitter – 2007.  I was on board before many people, and if you weren’t, you might not know just how different things were at the time. For one, that dates back to when it was Twttr instead of Twitter. As more people adopted the service they were able to finally get some vowels in the domain name.  At that time you could go to the front page of Twttr.com and watch a real time feed of every tweet, not simply people you followed. Many times you can’t even keep up with your own feed anymore, let alone a global one.

captureBut name changes and growth aside, the service itself has changed greatly. It still has the same 140 character limit, and hopefully that signature will never change. But a service that used to watch users and adopt the way they utilized the platform to make changes has grown to something that needs to satisfy advertisers and seek to continue growth. Gone are the days that brought @ mentions and #hashtags as a result of users creating the idea first.  More importantly, gone are the days of a developer friendly platform. For the first several years of its existence, Twitter had a famously open API that allowed developers to create apps and ways of interacting with Twitter than continually expanded the use and functionality. Fast forward a few years and they’ve bought Tweetdeck, removed most of its features, and all but shut down the ability for any new apps to be created.

They also continue to add in functionality that will work only within the native Twitter apps. They may owe their popularity to the developers, but they aren’t willing to allow that path to continue. While Twitter continues to grow, and more people and brands adopt the network, reach continues to grow. But engagement is falling. Why? Pure competition. When you checked your timeline and saw 10 new tweets, you read them. Now that you see 100 new tweets you skim… at best. The more that vies for your attention, the less likely you are to notice anything. And as marketers, we have to change our strategies to fit the times.

It’s a problem that Facebook has already gone through, and continues to adapt to. Their solution? Ads, ads, ads. The more you pay, the more likely you are to get your content seen. While Twitter doesn’t yet alter the streams to affect what people see, it’s hard to imagine that isn’t coming. Facebook, and Twitter, two networks that were once incredibly different, are more and more becoming the same. When Twitter changed the profile pages to look similar to Facebook, it wasn’t the only way they’re moving in that direction. And paid advertising to have a real shot at reach and engagement are coming… if not already here.

 

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Instagram Exposed

Instagram Exposed

I love Instagram. Don’t get me wrong. I love it for the social aspects of sharing photos and telling story through stunning visual imagery1.  But more often than not people just don’t seem to get it. They take a picture and then run it through unnecessary filters that  detract from a photo rather than enhance it2. And don’t even get me started on people that feel the need to blur things out3.

Instagram starts by lowering the resolution on the photo, dropping the quality right as you begin. Then as you filter, blur, and otherwise manipulate the photo you’re destroying it just a bit more each time.  So this morning I thought I would do a little experiment. I took a quick picture of my breakfast.  I think it looks pretty delicious:

 

 

Mmmm…. bacon4.  But I digress.  That’s just a quick cell phone shot. I didn’t even really try, but I think it looks pretty good.

Even the no filter version of this picture on Instagram doesn’t look as appetizing:

 

And from there I just kept layering on photos5.  Follow below to see the transformation of my breakfast from delish to giant blob6.

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Notes:

  1. OK, sometimes stunning visual imagery. It is out there, you have to follow the right people
  2. If you follow me on Instragram @RealMikeT, you’ll find that almost everything I upload is nofilter
  3. Seriously! It’s ridiculous. If things are in the same depth of field but one is blurry and the other is not it looks ridiculous. Enhance the photos, don’t ruin them!
  4. I realized this morning that people who follow me on Twitter have seen a lot more pictures of my bacon than they have of me. They probably appreciate that.
  5. I also discovered there’s an Instagram jail for someone who keeps trying to upload photos. I’m currently in it. This post was meant to just be a series of Instagram photos, now it’s here instead.
  6. Obviously this abuse is on purpose. It’s the first filter with each subsequent filter layered on top. But I think you get the point.