Fail whale swims between Twitter and Facebook

The social media press has been awash with reasons for the stalled Twitter Facebook deal. Looking at TechCrunch, All Things D and Techmeme, much of the reporting has understandably focussed on:

1) Cash ( Facebook offering to acquire Twitter for $500 million of its stock )

and

2) Costs (Concerns over Twitter’s burn rate)

I’d like also to talk about usability. While we are all seeing less and less of the infamous Fail Whale,  there are some issues around inflexibility –  I’d love to be able to lifecast pictures or video for instance. Other microblogging sites like Pownce and Friendfeed could eclipse Twitter in the not too distant future, especially since searching for people you know (or would like to know) is STILL not working.

For PRs, Twitter is a dream: offering you access to opinion formers that you may never have been able to have such close contact with otherwise, the opportunity to get breaking news at lightening speed and to request case studies and third party information in moments. Further intergration with Facebook could be what it needs to ‘cross the chasm’ and turn its 6 million user base (which still has a heavy male, social media and IT and earlty adopter skew) into something closer to Facebook’s 120 millon. I believe the results of a move, if they were to ever reapproach the conversation in future would be great news for comms professionals, especially with the advent of the Facebook phone –  encouraging more mobile twitter use and therefore the increased possibility for PRs to have conversations with audiences wherever they are.

And why am I waiting for Twitter to reach scale? So PRs can use their in-depth knowledge of the tool to sell marketing campaigns to clients if Twitter decides to take up some of the revenue-generating ideas suggested here (my fave being in-stream advertising). A great opportunity to eat into the marketing team’s budget with blended marcomms activity…

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3 comments

  1. Mia · November 24, 2008

    If Twitter inserted ads into the tweetstream I’d drop it like a hot cake. OTOH, I might pay for a guaranteed reliable service with a good roaming text rate for things like overseas conferences because discovering interesting niches at big events is where I’ve found actual value.

  2. heleana · November 25, 2008

    Thanks Mia,

    I’ve been thinking since your post overnight that I probably would lose a few connections by hawking out my tweetstream. For a business stream though, they may factor the audience loss against the success of the outreach? There’s also the argument that telling useful stories and adding value in the way you describe would be a a better use of tweet-time too.

  3. Mia · November 26, 2008

    If I’d followed a business, it might be different. I’d already assume they’re trying to get something out of the relationship, and it’s up to me to drop the connection when I don’t feel I’m getting value (or the annoyance factor is greater than the value).

    I guess it’s difficult because personal and professional lives have converged in online identities. People might be following you because they have a personal relationship with you, or because they’re interested in what you have to say as a communicator on certain professional topics.

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