I don't think it's hyperbole when the folks at Techcrunch say that Facebook and Twitter are now at war. I do think that the stage has been set for quite some time - each company has made sufficient progress that they have now collided. There is no going back.
What can we take away from the latest news?
Twitter has experienced meteoric growth for two reasons IMO:
- Simplicity -- everything about Twitter is easy, as you'd expect from an interface with 140 characters,
- Brilliantly executed developer strategy -- the developer API is similarly simple; integration is easy.
Facebook is decidedly *not* simple, but I'm sure they are very, very jealous of all the third-party Twitter applications that have been created over the last few months.
As a third-party startup, I have to tell you that I think the value proposition for Facebook is very, very strong. Who wouldn't want access to data on 200m+ users. But I also suspect that the Open Stream API will not be truly open... i.e. developers won't have access to all data they want/need to build third party apps. The big question is "will Facebook be able to offer enough data to be successful with this approach while keeping the truly valuable data for their own ad targeting purposes?" If they get this right, they'll remain the dominant social OS powered by ridiculous revenue opportunities.
From my vantagepoint, it can still go either way. Twitter's advantages in simplicity from both the User and Developer perspectives don't change in light of the recent Facebook announcement. Similarly, Facebook's advantages in Installed Base & breadth of data collected won't change if Twitter adds 50m users.
Other random reactions:
- I'm glad the game for developers has moved to social platforms. But all this news does is guarantees that developers will need to be capable in *both* Facebook and Twitter.
- Along those lines, I think Facebook and Twitter strategy just sortof became the same thing for many corporations eager to connect with consumers. You can't do one without at least considering the other.
- I think this is ultimately a proxy war for Google v. Microsoft for what it's worth. Maybe not today, but soon.
- Internet marketing is dying in lieu of social marketing. I'll elaborate on this in a later blog post.
- Friendfeed and Yahoo! sure feel similar to me -- valuable properties/companies who do great things but are nonetheless stuck in "RC Cola land". Friendfeed will need to change the game somehow, some way to get into the debate.
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