What’s On My Mind? The Homogenization of Facebook and Twitter

As an avid user of both Facebook and Twitter, I often get the question from non-Twitter adopters “what’s the difference between that and Facebook’s status?” For me, there has been a world of difference. I simply use the two for different purposes. Facebook is a place where I communicate with people I know in real life (meaning I’ve interacted with in person at some point during my life, even if some I haven’t spoken with in 15 years), whereas Twitter has been my medium to interact mainly with people I don’t actually know, but have common interests with, or companies and brands I want to learn from. I see them very distinctly, and thus the type of information I share and the way in which I share it is unique to the medium.

Now Facebook has gone ahead and Twittefied the Wall stream. While I think that this will make Facebook more about sharing content and ideas more easily, I fear that statuses will become the central repository for all content rather than through designated sections such as Photos, Notes, etc.

I like most aspects of the new Facebook layout (though I am confused by the “Highlights” sidebar on the homepage) but they should have stuck with “What are you doing?” for a lead-in to status updates. Twitter, on the other hand, is less about “doing” and more about “thinking” and should have been the social medium to change the lead-in to “What’s on your mind?”

Simultaneous with the new Facebook homepage and profile UI, and the growth of Twitter, I see more of my friends on Facebook linking the publication of their posts through aggregators. I think this is a mistake as well and will ultimately lead to complete homogenization of the two platforms, not to mention a lot of noise. Now I’m seeing @twitterusername and hashtags in Facebook updates, which is completely irrelevant to the network. I guess it’s a great viral marketibg tool for Twitter, though, since the only way to understand these new posts are to join Twitter. Then would we still need Facebook?

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