Fritter? What Facebook’s Opening Up Means for Twitter

twitter-vs-facebookFacebook has just made a bunch of significant updates today, most notably opening “up access to the content and methods for sharing through…status, Notes, Links (what we used to call Posted Items), and Video…” Not sure if you read the article awhile back over at AllFacebook, but Nick called it a few weeks back. I’m concerned that we will lose the inherent privacy that, for me, is so enjoyable.

Personally, I enjoy the two applications/services operating differently, but it was only a matter of time until Facebook realized a way to compete with Twitter in their ability to facilitate a means for instantaneous and widespread conversation. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to see a bunch of Twitter-inspired clones that will be taking up the cause clawing for their stake of the Facebook open status game.

Twitter applications like Tweetdeck, Twhirl, and the ton of other applications operating as satellites around the Twittersphere would do good to investigate and see how difficult it would be to recreate their applications displaying Facebook streams.  That is if they care about being involved in a niche that is about to completely blow wide open.

Twitter has a few million users, which admittedly is on the significant rise over the last few months with all the new celebrity users, media mentions and resulting attention, but their userbase pales in comparison to Facebook’s gargantuan 150m+ users. That being said, I wonder how long until Myspace decides to jump into the fray…I’m sure that they’ll arrive fashionably late.

What do you think about this? Do you think we’ll see people jumping ship for Facebook, as there will be a completely different level of integration with all of your other Facebook data and information? Or do you think the Twitterworld will buckle down and get ready to fight the good fight? Or will this really change little for Twitter faithfuls that already sync their Facebook statuses to their Twitter posts?

Can Facebook create the same level of underground endorsement and loyal buzz with their service? Do you think Facebook will have a greater ability to capture trends because of the wider user-base and dedicated audience?

Honestly, my biggest concern is that Facebook is going to become completely overrun with marketers and as a result we’re all going to get 100x the amount of friend requests that we currently get. I enjoy keeping my Facebook friends list filled with real-life friends. Facebook, for me, is a completely private opt-in community. I share different things on Facebook that I’m less likely to talk about publicly on Twitter.

In fact, I probably only have 10 or maybe 15 people that I don’t actually know who are my friends on Facebook. This is something that potentially could ruin the Facebook experience, and turn it into Myspace all over again…sans the horrible PimpMyLayout services.

What do you think? Chime in.

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To Friend Or to Follow

Facebook Profile BarThe connective branches of the web are spreading out at an ever-increasing rate. Have you noticed how many of your old friends from high school and college are showing up in droves on Facebook? If you’re on Twitter, have you witnessed the literal flood of new registrations each day?

As more and more people jump into the social media space, regardless of their motive and catalyst for doing so (which we’ll address in a minute), you are going to be faced with the questions: should I accept that friend request and/or should I reciprocate following that person that just followed me on Twitter?

On Facebook, I have made very few exceptions to my general rule: I only accept and make friend requests to people that I am really friends with, online or otherwise (after 10+ working in the digital arena, I certainly have friends on Facebook that I’ve never met face-to-face). There are a very few exceptions to that rule – like, under 10 – which I made in either the interest of developing a friendship or widening a networking relationship with someone in or around my field.

With Facebook, there’s a simple reason for the wall. I use Facebook to share my personal information. I share pictures of my wife, my kids, and my closest friends. It’s my private space. Ha, it’s my space.

Twitter on the other hand, is a completely different beast for me. I find myself constantly squabbling with myself over whether or not I should be following everyone that follows me first. And so at the same time, I have to set my expectations on other people following me just because I followed them first.

Listen, I’m all for following people out of kindness and reciprocity. But the more users that fill up my Twitterstream with nonsense, the less I follow the stream. I originally fell in love with Twitter because of the amazing content that was steadily delivered to Tweetdeck.

I felt like I was getting smarter by spending lunch at my desk eating and reading Twitter. Now, as I follow more people, I don’t really feel the same way. I feel like I’m wearing waders and searching for post-rush gold.

So, what I’ve been doing as of late is checking out every single person’s Twitterstream that follows me, if only for 5-10 seconds. I look long enough to read the bio, check a handful of Tweets, and maybe 50% of the time I click on their URL to see what sort of stuff they write about (or design).

Twitter ProfileHere are the things I’m looking for:

  • Humor
  • Links
  • Information relative or useful to me
  • Retweets and @replies
  • Engaging gravatar (lets me know the person has a good idea what they’re doing)
  • People I recognize in their followers list

Here are the things I try to avoid:

  • Rudeness
  • Tweets about the sandwich you just ate
  • Pointless rambling
  • An entire list filled with only “New blog post: How to make your Mac look like D.A.R.Y.L.”
  • Following 1995 people, with only 32 people following back
  • Under 10 posts (unless they are totally brand new, and those 10 pass the criteria in the first list)

I would say that 75% of the people make the cut. I mean, really, the list of things that I’m trying to avoid are pretty basic. I just don’t want to fill up my Twitterstream with useless nonsense, and since I’m not trying to win any popularity contests or prepping for Magpie ad insertions, the size of my following is far less important to me than it’s quality.

I expect that someone has followed me because they enjoy what I’m adding to the larger conversation. If they aren’t and are just baiting me for reciprocation, I don’t mind if they unfollow. I still don’t think I’ve unfollowed someone once because they hadn’t followed me back, and I don’t plan on starting to do so anytime soon.

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