Facebook Must Copy Other Sites' Successes

Facebook is in the process of launching the redesigned version of user profiles. They are also focused on a number of other initiatives including Facebook Connect which is one of the sources of the data portability discussion over the past few days. One thing I’ve been wondering about a lot more frequently is why doesn’t Facebook take features from other sites that are finding success? One example would be integrating Twitter functionality into Facebook statuses.

On a regular basis I have people post replies to my statuses on my Facebook wall. While the reply occasionally ends up in other peoples’ newsfeeds, it doesn’t allow for a continuing dialogue that can be tracked. If Facebook statuses had Twitter functionality, Twitter would have an overnight competitor that could instantly crush their growth. As of now, Facebook has simply enabled Twitter to update statuses via the Twitter application but honestly, Facebook should update it.

Another thing missing is FriendFeed style communication in the newsfeed. Justin Smith suggests that there should be FriendFeed style dialog in the profile mini-feed. I would argue that it should also be added to the newsfeed in general. Enabling discussion around various newsfeed items would also help guage the popularity of each item.

While Facebook is focused on building a valuable platform for developers and a simple to user interface that can be understood internationally, I don’t think Facebook is innovating in areas that they could easily improve. The Facebook messaging system is always a source of criticism since it is impossible to sort or search through. While there have been rumors circulating that Facebook is testing out search within their messaging, I have yet to find any screenshots of it in action.

As Fred Wilson pointed out this weekend, “Social web services need not fear data portability. They need to fear others providing a better experience.” There are better experiences happening elsewhere on the web. Facebook needs to hurry up an integrate some of those experiences back into their site.