Should Twitter Be Worried About Facebook's New Feature?
One of the most popular Twitter features, the @Mention, is about to be released on Facebook. The new feature called tagging, will allow you to tag friends in your Facebook status and post updates. @Mentions are heavily used within the Twitter world and Facebook has decided it now wants to capture some of that mojo.
Prior to this update, people would normally tag friends within uploaded pictures or notes. Now, with this release you'll be able to mention them when writing updates or wall posts.
To tag someone in a post or update you simply will type the “@” symbol and then start typing the person's name. An AJAX reference box will appear allowing you to filter-as-you-type. Once you've submitted your post or update, the @friend will get a notification they've been tagged.
Facebook also mentioned it will roll this capability into applications in a future update.
I would imagine Twitter can feel a slight chill in the air.
How will this impact Twitter?
I believe this will slow down Twitter's growth a bit but not too much. Facebook will definitely get some Twitter-like benefits from this including:
- More Conversational Interactions: To really get into Twitter you need to follow the @replies and watch the entire thread. For those who do, it can be quite engaging and interactive. Previously in Facebook if someone mentioned you in a wall post or status update you would never know unless you happen to see that post or update (or you are subscribing to that friend's updates). With @tagging now you'll immediately know and begin a conversational thread…expect Facebook usage to go up even more once people get the hang of it.
- Update Twitter from Facebook: Many Twitter users have their tweets update their Facebook status but now you'll be able to do the reverse. One of the major objections I hear from Facebook users who are not on Twitter is that it seems redundant…and it is, somewhat. With Twitter you usually do not control who follows you (there's a setting for to control this) so there's no filter. With this update, I can reply on friend's walls and statuses and send out a public Twitter update at the same time. This is definitely something Twitter cannot do.
- Increase Facebook App Development: Facebook has over 250 million users compared to Twitter's 10 million. This new feature will impact usability and further magnify people's Crackbook addition that already exists. I'm quite positive there are many savvy developer's out there now brainstorming on how to leverage this…let the fun begin.
I still think Twitter is still better for the general public masses, especially from a business standpoint. Facebook is great because it's a closed system and I know I can control who sees what I want them to see. But now there will be some blending of the two and I believe this is just the beginning of Facebook trying to capture Twitter's core base.
Yes, they should be worried…