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.

An app for myself: Facebook EventSync

Off late I have become pretty involved in a local (Philadelphia) user group called RefreshPhilly. The group meets the first Monday of every month and hosts a couple of talks by some local new-media professionals, designers or developers. The event is hosted at the new Comcast building where I work.
However like a lot of big corporate buildings, the Comcast building only allows registered guests into the building. This meant that all attendees had to be registered with building security to allow them to enter. Since our attendee list often reaches 100 odd people, I needed to get the names to security in chunks, so that I didnt have to get all of them at the last second. Unfortunately the Facebook events page only shows the total number of people who have confirmed their attendence. What I really needed was “How many new people have confirmed since the last time I looked”. So I whipped this little app that uses the Facebook API to take snapshots of the attendee lists from any Facebook event (using a valid event id) at any time and show the number of new people who have confirmed attending or maybe attending status by comparing the snapshot to the previous snapshot saved on a local file.

Facebook Event Sync

I am almost sure this app will only ever have one user (me) but hey, if you ever need it, you can download it from here. Feel free to comment if you would like to see any additional functionality here, or if you have an idea for this being a more practical app 🙂