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Facebook Twitterizes

September 11, 2009

Facebook, the social media monster has made some changes recently which will make their site more like… Twitter?

Yes, it’s true.  The growth and massive media coverage of Twitter has the Facebook crew on notice, and they aren’t just sitting back and watching.

The first change they introduced were @mentions in status updates.  This allows you to “mention” others in your status updates.  For example:

“I’m watching football with @Devin Kunysz”

The recipient of the mention will receive a notification, and will be able to respond and continue the conversation.  A key feature of Facebook’s new “@mention” system is that you will be able to mention not just Friends, but groups and fan pages as well.

This is an interesting move by Facebook.  They have done a few things in the past to “make Facebook more like Twitter”, but this is a big step.  We need to remember that Facebook is not Twitter, Twitter is not Facebook, and both sites have their users.  How will the Facebook users react to the new (Twitter) feature?  Chances are they’ll like it. It’s very practical.  It will be interesting to be able to call out another user and know that they’ll see you post.  Some say that one of the biggest knock on Facebook is not being able to have a public conversation.  I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it will alleviate that problem.

Yesterday Facebook also announced the launching of Facebook Lite (http://www.lite.facebook.com).  Facebook Lite was designed to be exactly how it sounds, a light version of Facebook which will be an easier site to run in countries with lower bandwith.  Officially it launched yesterday in the USA and India.

Facebook Lite is a simplified version of Facebook – It has your profile, pictures, events; the pure basics.  When I went and explored it a little, it reminded me of early versions of Facebook.  Remember, before the “boxes”, and applications and massive amounts of clutter?  It was a nice change, from the current “loud” Facebook.

Facebook Lite was obviously designed for countries with less bandwith than we have here, and I think that it will be well received when it is released in other countries.  It is an interesting strategy, as Facebook is not the number one social media site in a lot of countries around the world.  I wonder is how many Americans will make the switch to the lite version, and will the lite version draw in potential new older users who wouldn’t have liked or understood the currently cluttered version?

These changes are interesting moves for Facebook.  They had legit reasons for making both, but they both sound like an attempt to “Twitterizing” Facebook.  I’m not sure whether this is a good idea or bad idea because both site have their own distinctive features.  Could Facebook want a Twitter purchase in the future? Who knows.

Another interesting point is that Facebook is playing a very defensive role lately when it comes to updates and changes.  This is something that MySpace DIDN’T do when they were the king of the hill.  We all know how that ended.  It seems as Facebook has learned from the mistakes of Friendster and MySpace, and doesn’t want the to be the next king knocked off.  A good strategy.

Facebook, you did it again…

Follow Todd on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/toddliss

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2009 7:25 am

    Very nice site!

  2. September 17, 2009 7:11 am

    Okay, I am skeptical of twiterizing Facebook. I de-linked my twitter and Facebook accounts, because I didn’t like how all the @mentions and #hashtags looked in Facebook. Nevertheless, I am curious to see how it goes. As a social media consultant, I realize the important thing is not about what I like but about what the audience for my clients like.

    • toddliss permalink*
      September 17, 2009 8:10 am

      That is a very good attitude to have about social media in general. Changes happen that us as individuals might not like, but it is important to realize that there are millions of others out there that may like something. It will be interesting to see how people: first, like the mentions and second are able to efficiently communicate with their accounts linked.

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