The War of the Social Networking Giants
The Social Networking
giants are at war. The big players MySpace
still rule the roost, in terms of influence and network traffic but a new player Twitter
has entered the scene, and though it has a long way to go to be a real contender is gaining followers fast.
Twitters power lies, perhaps, in the ease with which it’s interface can transmit potentially valuable information
instantaneously to tens of thousands of individuals, each of whom has the option to resend it, with minimal clicks, to further tens of thousands of fresh recipients. This feature enables news to spread like wildfire. For example yesterday news of South East Australia’s earthquake was common knowledge around the globe via
Twitter long before news agencies had a chance to get a handle on it.
The Twitter interface also enables continuous delivery of real time
messages which are displayed sequentially in no more than 140 characters, enabling those with quick minds, to sift through hundreds of thousands of messages, or Tweets, quickly and pull out only valuable information, which in more cases is further elaborated on, in a link page. The search
facility of Twitter is also invaluable.
So, who is winning the war at present? As far as figures go, JR Raphael reports
(1) that compared to MySpace
with, an annual 28% fall in US social network traffic to 52.21%, Facebook
increased its annual traffic by 149% to give it a 36.03% of the network traffic pie. Facebook is looking good at the moment since it “has about 150 million users, compared with the rapidly expanding Twitter's 6 million,” (7) but it is early days and Sarah Lacy of, “Business Week,”
suggests that, ”if anyone wants a shot at beating Facebook at its own game, Twitter
is the property to get you there.”
It seems that Facebook
, is keenly aware of the threat, for in a move aimed at out-foxing Twitter, it has been instrumental in the development of a new version of the Twitter application TweetDeck.
The updated version can receive both Tweets and Facebook updates all within a single interface and can cross-post between the two sites. Nick O'Neill (5) explains
that, like Twitter, “Facebook clearly wants to become a platform for real-time communication and sharing
among individuals and this new service will most definitely help further that goal. "
According to Sarah Lacey
, (6) “Peter Thiel can try to damp enthusiasm for Twitter
by saying Facebook
is eyeing lots of acquisitions. But there's a reason Facebook was hungry enough for Twitter that it offered $500 million in stock and cash to a company with a small staff and no revenue—in the middle of a recession.” It will be recorded in the social networking history e-Books that Twitter declined the offer.