I don’t think Facebook will kill Twitter

Written on February 7, 2009 – 10:25 am | by Dan

Apparently Facebook has opened up more of its API and we’ll soon see many more tools for Facebook status (like Twitterrific for Facebook, or maybe Eventbox?).

From All Facebook:

As mentioned, Facebook has made it easier to set a user’s status. Get ready for streaming Facebook status tools galore. Just over one month ago I suggested that opening up that status API would be the first step toward Facebook killing Twitter. Now we will see if this really has as large of an effect as I claimed it would.

I’m skeptical that Facebook will kill Twitter simply because people don’t really use Twitter for the reason Twitter was invented. Twitter encourages people to post what they are doing, but I see it used more used as a microblog that asks “What are you thinking?” Meanwhile, Facebook status updates are typically “What are you doing?” updates.

In fact, I’m not sure I want to have a running stream of Facebook status updates ready to pull up at any moment. Since Adium and other instant messenger clients now work with Facebook chat, Facebook’s status updates are actually more of a fit, I think, than Twitter’s tweets for IM status. Facebook Status feeds right back into chat clients. I can see my Facebook friends’ status updates in the chat client and I can update my own status.

Plus, I’m much more likely to follow people I don’t know in real-life on Twitter than I would on Facebook. For me, Facebook is kind of like the inner-circle. I may follow you on Twitter because I’m interested in your opinions, but that doesn’t mean you’re invited to my inner-circle. On the flip-side, I’m comfortable with most anyone following me on Twitter, but not at all comfortable with just anyone wanting to be my friend on Facebook.

Part of that may be because Facebook makes me identify myself to everyone with my real identity. Twitter doesn’t. For you and I to be friends on Facebook, I think we need to have met face-to-face at least once and have gotten along well. I don’t have that requirement for Twitter.

It goes both ways, too. I like following Merlin Mann on Twitter. I follow him there because I enjoy pretty much everything he’s done and value what he has to say, even if it’s junk. But I don’t know him in real-life, so I won’t ask him for friendship on Facebook. There’s an unspoken boundary there.

Maybe I’m already too old.

There’s enough room for both right now, I think, because they both have different purposes.

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