For those of you that don’t know, Twitter is a microblogging site. This means that it allows users to write very short text posts, alerting their friends to what they’re doing. Users can update their status from cell phones, or they can write a short blurb on Twitter’s web site.
This sounds very similar, in ways, to Facebook’s status updates. It’s a way for friends to show what they’re doing to other friends. The only difference, of course, if that Facebook prefaces every message with a “[username] is” title, making posting less flexible than on Twitter.
Is this a direct competitor to Twitter? No. (Although, however, Twitter does have a Facebook application of its own.) I started using a service similar to Twitter a week ago, and I love just how interactive a stream of notes can be, and how addictive it is. Facebook’s status messages have never made me interested in posting my status.
Changing this would be easy for Facebook: there isn’t much stopping them from removing the “user is” in front of a message and creating an interface that really lets people use status to interact. (For good measure, they could also throw in a status RSS feed, which has currently been sorely lacking.)
However: would it be a smart move for Facebook? They emphasize interaction through using their built-in applications. Why bother using status when you can write a wall? Why built interactive back-and-forth miniblogs when you’re able to just write on walls?
The answer: it’s much easier to do that way. But Facebook isn’t about making it easy to chat quickly back-and-forth. They’re focused on making their web site into a social utility, where it’s possible to work efficiently without any spam and nonsense showing up. Twitter-like statuses would be nice. But it is far from being essential, or even useful.