The Day When Twitter Lost to Facebook

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 5, 2013 in Tech |

FriendFeed

As the hype machine is getting revved up for Twitter to go public, the one question I found myself asking was “why has it taken so long?”. And recently I was watching a really well done special on Twitter on Bloomberg TV and they boiled it down to “great service, but no business model”. Slowly Twitter is figuring out that model, but I think the real issue is why Facebook left them in the dust so long ago?

And the answer I came up with was:

The acquisition of FriendFeed on August 10, 2009.

Up until that point Facebook was an amazing service for photo sharing and connecting with your real world social graph, but it just wasn’t real time like Twitter. Bringing FriendFeed into the fold made Facebook go from a scrapbook to a real time feed very quickly. So it gave you the real time energy of Twitter with the rich multimedia goodness of photos and video.

Old School Twitter Screenshot

At that point Twitter responded by, well they didn’t seem to respond at all. Twitter was happy just being Twitter, and that to me is the problem. If you look at a screenshot of Twitter from the old days it’s pretty much the same thing it was when the site launched. Twitter feels frozen in time, except that their developer base has now been left out of the picture. On the flip side if you look at Facebook from a few years ago it feels like a relic.

thefacebook

And looking at Facebook today you see a company that’s willing to take risks and innovate. For example Facebook Home is a ver daring undertaking that really shows that the company is thinking seriously about mobile. Facebook was willing to get out of their comfort zone and hacked Android and did a deal with HTC. A few months ago they acquired Instagram so they could get more into mobile and have access to another audience which was a solid bold move.

Facebook Home

When you put thefacebook next to Facebook Home it looks like evolution. When you put Twitter next to what it did a few years ago it feels like time is frozen. In fact Twitter hasn’t made any bold moves over the last few years that come to mind. The have kicked the outside developers out and taken over several products in the ecosystem, but i don’t know anybody who is excited about what TweetDeck has become, and the word innovation doesn’t come to mind.

TweetDeck shows that innovation is dead at Twitter

Twitter will get their act together and go public no doubt, but I really feel like in the years ahead that time will past them by because of their corporate culture. If you told me that ten years in the future that a public Twitter was acquired by a big player I honestly wouldn’t be surprised.

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