The Facebookization of Twitter

Posted on March 31, 2014

I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook.

I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook because I could sum up everything I needed to say in the sentence above without a lot of unnecessary space filling copy, too many images or any other concern than simply stating my opinion. That simple statement gets the point across and that’s that.

Additionally, I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook because I can easily find opinions, such as mine or ones to the contrary, quickly efficiently and in a clean and linear fashion.

What I enjoy about Twitter, its differentiation from Facebook; however, is gradually being replaced with more of what has made Facebook so poplar – images, video, multiple images, tagged images. The reason being is that Twitter’s growth has stagnated, while Facebook’s races forward. When you’re publicly traded like Twitter the opinion’s of users comes second to those of Wall Street.

So what could Twitter do to gain users without continuing it’s increasingly rapid Facebookization? Not much.

On troubling aspect of their growth trajectory that I haven’t seen discussed is that Twitter can’t possibly build any more awareness than they already have now.

Traditionally, large publicly traded brands do two things when growth stagnates: Fire their CMO/ad agency, and then advertise more or differently to build/change awareness. For Twitter, they’re already on maybe 80% of the advertising seen now, with their little bird.

Any user Twitter – or Wall Street – would want to acquire sees Twitter messaging/imagery at least two dozen times a day. Every commercial on TV, or print ad in a magazine, they all encourage viewers to follow them on Twitter. Not enough are listening.

As for changing awareness, that’s when the move toward becoming like Facebook comes in. But the flaw there is that Facebook already does Facebook very well. Google + has tried to emulate Facebook, exceeding them in many ways, with regard to functionality, design and user experience. Still, not many people care about +.

So if potential users can’t be marketed to join, and those that like Facebook don’t want another (even superior) version of the service, what can Twitter do? It would appear their solution is to alienate it’s current, loyal audience. I hope for the best, but I don’t see that ending well.