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Recently Twitter has started to go mainstream (well in the UK and US).  These past few weeks have seen Twitter mentioned on the BBC (see Declan Curry from BBC’s Working Lunch), radio and in most of the UK Newspapers, especially since Jonathan Ross started “tweeting”.

What is becoming clearer and clearer as time progresses and more interesting people join twitter is that the second it reaches non-geeks, it could kill off Facebook.

Why?

Facebook is useful for following main reasons:-

  1. Finding old friends – since the demise of Friends Reunited in the UK all my old school pals are on FB.
  2. Keeping up to date with what people are doing through status-updates (notice the once empty box now says “What are you doing now?”).
  3. Looking at photographs of friends.
  4. Emailing friends/people.
  5. Live Chat.

That’s all.  Throwing stuff, the apps etc, are totally useless in reality.  Humans are interested in looking at people, seeing how they are doing (what they are doing now) and interacting.  People are far happier to talk online than in real life to long lost friends, this is a fact as I often bump into old school friends (I left school in 1991) that are also FB friends, they are generally embarrassed to talk and normally offer a simple “hi” and wander off into the bustling high street..within an hour I’d get a “great seeing you today” message on FB!

Why is Twitter Useful?

  1. Right now, none of my non-early adopter friends, ex-colleagues or family are on it, however, it is great for meeting new people relevant to both work and play, I have a real mix of people that I find addictive to watch and talk with on and offline.
  2. Keeping up to date with what people are doing instantly.
  3. Sharing links to interesting information.
  4. Finding out who is in whatever location you happen upon ie “Who fancies a coffee in Oxford Street, right now?”
  5. Talking to people instantly.
  6. No limits on the number of people that can follow you and you can follow as many as you want (unlike FB).
  7. Direct Messages (email?).
  8. Getting out emergency notices, fast, such as this on Techcrunch today.

There are similarities to Facebook and it seems FB are actually copying “What are you doing now?”.  I think the second my friends born in the 70’s and technophobe work colleagues and family are introduced to and understand twitter, I would actually stop going to Facebook, FB offers me nothing more than Twitter and I prefer the fact that Twitter has flowing conversation.  The one thing Twitter needs is personalised homepages for each user and perhaps groups for friends, family and work (as we are discussing right now), and maybe allowing photos (the one thing Facebook has over Twitter).  Partnering with Flickr could fix that instantly.

There have been rumours of Twitter talking to Facebook regarding a potential acquisition (although it has been denied).   Of my followers not using an automated service to update their status’ the average friend updates three times per week..Not really live or helpful is it.

Maybe I am wrong and the fact Facebook has 150m users and twitter only 6m users in comparison means something..

I am however,convinced that Twitter, once understood and not just with geeks and people told they *should* use it, will take over Facebook.  Maybe in two years, and the revenue will be SMS based along with businesses paying to use it internally.  I know of many offices that have put bans in place stopping staff “wasting time on Facebook” – Twitter would be seen as a useful tool by bosses.

Your thoughts dear reader?!

UPDATE: It seems I am not alone with this line of thought other people are seeing the benefits including the UK public en masse

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