Everyone’s talking about Twitter these days and some of the updates they announced at Chirp – their developer conference. Om Malik had a pretty good opinion piece on Twitter’s real concern being Facebook – not developers – and I’d say he’s spot on. But I would also add that the Twitter vs Facebook battle he alludes to is already over, and Facebook wins.
Mind you, I’m much more of a fan of Twitter than I am of Facebook. The novelty of 140 character updates got me to sign-up from the very beginning, but it is that constraint that will ultimately leave it in the shadow of the social-sharing monster Facebook has become. There’s just more value in being able to share anything.
The guys at Twitter know they’re behind because of the very thing that makes them unique, and that’s why they keep launching new features to enrich tweets – mentions, retweets, geolocation, and now annotations. They’re basically keeping the facade of the 140 character limit, but behind the “micro” in microblogging lies a lot of semantic meaning. Is this enough, however? That is clearly up for discussion.
The sweet-spot for social sharing
My gut tells me that the sweet spot for a sharing-centric social network (one where the social object is anything, lies somewhere between what Twitter and Facebook are today. Facebook needs to be leaner, cut some of the app crap and focus on delivering the right experience for people who want to share their lives with their friends. Twitter on the other hand, needs to enrich their experience. They’re certainly not limited to what SMSs can handle anymore (they gave up on that idea as soon as their growth became a real “issue“).
I guess we’ll see how things roll out in the next few months. In the words of Chris Dixon, “I can’t remember the last time the tech world was so interesting.” True story.