How Facebook could kill Twitter, and why it won't

Before I start rambling, I'd like to start off by saying that I never really got into the whole microblogging scene. I tried, time and time again, but it just never kept me interested for very long. Maybe that's why one day I went as far as getting down on my knees and begged God for microblogging to go away so that I wouldn't have to keep hearing about the latest Twitter outage from all my favourite news sites. As time went by though, I quickly realized that Twitter, and microblogging in general, was here to stay. That's why today you're seeing me post my first ever microblogging-related story, and as much as I find the whole ongoing development very interesting, it will probably be my last.

So why do I say that Facebook could kill off Twitter? Well, because it had microblogging before Twitter was a baby (yeah, I know, Twitter still is a damn baby). You can argue day and night that wall-to-wall posts aren't mini blog posts, but you can't deny that Status Updates are exactly what Twitter has been doing from the very start. Think about it. Status Updates = Tweets. Don't believe me? Well, there is one difference between the two, and this is really the key to microblogging's success. On Twitter, you can follow anyone you would like, without their approval. Facebook just won't let you do that.

But what if it did? Wouldn't that remove the need for Twitter? It would. That's simply because you can find almost anyone on Facebook nowadays, while Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, and all similar services still have very minute audiences. Imagine being able to send your status updates to all your friends, to just groups of friends, or only to people that are following you. Just add the ability to search Status Updates across all of Facebook, and there goes the need for having a separate microblogging service. Facebook could become the microblogging king overnight. The only problem is, Facebook will never do it. Privacy is probably the main reason. More importantly though, Facebook is annoyingly obsessed with implementing useless services, like IM, instead of building on what it already has.

So now you know what I'd be scheming, if I were at the head of Facebook, and even though I'm not a fan of the whole "microblogging" frenzy. Let's go back to the beginning. I may not like it much, but I do believe it is here to stay. Let me explain why that is. There are three reasons why I think microblogging isn't going to go away anytime soon. First of all, spammers are already invading Twitter. Once you've got spammers happily building themselves homes on your new service, you know you've made it. Secondly, the number of imitation services (some worse, some better) are still popping up. That only further supports the fact that this is a niche that needs filling; more than just one site believes they can get microblogging down right. Lastly, people genuinely complain that Twitter is down, every time Twitter is down. All those bloggers are really, really, annoyed when they can't instantly inform all their followers that they just farted.

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