Why Facebook’s new changes don’t feel like the death of Twitter

I had a pretty interested conversation with JPToto yesterday, on Facebook no less, on Facebook’s new features and their impact on Twitter. JP posted his thoughts on the coming twit-pocalypse on his blog today. I am posting my conversation with JP below. However the very fact that I cant actually link to it is the main reason I am less of the opinion that Facebook can devour Twitter completely.


Twitter is definitely a fascinating beast ( and being a twittaholic, my opinions here may be biased. Follow me on http://twitter.com/arpit). People use it in very different ways. I definitely use it to keep tabs on my close friends and share a link every once in a while. In that respect, yes I dont care if I get that information from Facebook or Twitter.

However the real value I get out of twitter is a cursory connection with the people who I have the highest admiration for, the big names in Flash, Flex, Silverlight, Java world, guys who are running companies I respect or have opinions I think are valid. The connection isn’t always two way. I follow more people whom I dont know personally than those I do. Twitter is now my main source of personalized news and I dont see Facebook becoming that.

And what about services getting on Twitter that are really useful. The utilitarian awesomeness of things like @comcastcares is just hard to translate to Facebook metaphors.

The Facebook redesign is interesting, though I wonder if they were completely influenced my the more vocal but smaller fraction of their user base. My friends who aren’t into Twitter dont like the design much but they’ll learn to live with it. It may make them more active over the next few years (maybe) but I dont see it changing the way people who have invested time on building a group on Twitter leaving it for Facebook, unless they change their entire security system allowing follows with limited privileges.

Whats really going to start getting annoying to me is the fragmentation of conversation again (its already a headache if you are trying to follow blog comments/conversations). My status update will now be duplicated as will my friends’ and I have no idea where to respond for whom, and lack of the reply API on Facebook’s apis makes it even more irritating.

It will be interesting to see how it goes but I am not giving up my Twitter profile anytime soon.

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

One thought on “Why Facebook’s new changes don’t feel like the death of Twitter”

  1. Top notch, Arpit! I had the same thought about Facebook possibly introducing a new security level where you “follow” someone instead of friending them completely. It would make sense. The thing that compels my opinion the most is the sheer numbers Facebook is about to turn loose on twitter’s turf. When 175 million people start using Facebook status the same way you and I use twitter, it’s going to draw a lot of the attention, money, media, and services twitter gets now. Honestly – I hope it doesn’t shake out that way but I have a feeling it will. Great post!!


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