Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Facebook faces crossroads

I’d be quite anxious by now if I were a Facebook shareholder. Last month they were embarrassed by a change to their terms and conditions and this month they’re changing the look and feel of their website, to make it more vibrant and immediate.

Oh, and to make it more like Twitter of course. Nobody’s saying it out loud but my best guess is that Twitter has Facebook on the run.

Let’s be a little brutal. When I signed up for Facebook my objectives were pretty simple. I wanted a less formal version of LinkedIn that I could use for both personal and private purposes. As a freelance I have a slight blurring of those lines anyway, so it seemed to make sense.

So…I signed up. And within a couple of hours I had some messages, telling me I’d been poked and then chomped by zombies. It was quite some time before anything remotely useful happened, and believe me I was pushing.

Later I came to Twitter, in which the entire focus was on the message and what someone had to say. I’d scored some extra work within a day of signing up, I was back in touch with some ex-colleagues and it was all happening in real time. This is of course ideal to me as a writer and a lot of the games and stuff on Facebook will appeal to other people, I agree.

Now Facebook is planning to become a lot more interactive, less complicated and more real-time. The changes happen globally tomorrow. The challenge the company faces is to become a renewed Facebook without giving up being Facebook at all and becoming Twitter Lite. For my part, I don’t honestly know whether they can do it – and judging from the fact that they were in merger or takeover talks, I wonder how certain they are, too.


March 10, 2009 - Posted by | Social networking providers

1 Comment »

  1. Interesting post. I, for one, have been arguing for some time (like you) that Facebook and Twitter are nothing alike. If in making this change, and trending towards Twitter, Facebook becomes less able to perform it’s core functions, then that will be a pity. And it may even be a sign (worryingly for shareholders, as you say too) that there is a serious lack of strategy at the company. Pity, because Facebook 1.0 did what it said on the tin, and did it well.

    Peter Sigrist

    Comment by @psigrist | March 11, 2009

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