Facebook is the largest social network ever created. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mission has been to “connect the world.” He just led the company he started at age 19 to a $100 billion IPO. This was possible because the average user spends over 20 minutes per visit on the site. How can a gigantic company like this fail? Twitter. That’s right, Twitter will be play the role of David to Facebook’s Goliath.
This downfall is 50% Facebook’s fault and 50% Twitter. Facebook is following in AOL’s step (or missteps depending on how you look at it). They are trying to BE THE INTERNET. Serving as a platform for internet users is a viable option but Facebook can’t over-extend themselves. Zuck and crew have been successful to date by perfecting a small set of features. Success is jeopardized each time a feature is added. At one point AOL’s Instant Messaging service seemed to be downloaded on every computer. Now the service is basically extinct because AOL diverted attention to additional technology. Facebook should learn a lesson from history.
While Facebook is opening an opportunity, Twitter is positioning itself to capitalize. Facebook’s platform attempts to force content creators to upload unique work directly to the site. Twitter is taking a different approach. They recently announced “expanded tweets” which allow individuals to share content from OTHER sites on the internet (Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, DailyMotion, etc) without having to leave the Twitter platform. Genius. Creating a true discovery service will prevail over an inclusive network that controls content.
Facebook hasn’t lost the battle yet. It will happen over time if they don’t start to make changes now. Twitter will continue to grow and definitely wouldn’t mind stepping into the leader position. So how does Facebook prevent this?
Facebook can do two things. The first is to purchase Twitter. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” By acquiring the service, Zuckerberg would be able to offer the discovery features that will be essential to surviving the rest of this century. If he can’t, he may be eaten alive.
The second option is to develop a similar feature. This is probably more likely. Facebook Open Graph API is a step in the right direction. They must continue to develop similar offerings to help the 900 million users discovery unique content throughout the internet. Think Stumbleupon type features on the greatest social network ever created. It has potential but we need to see the execution.
Pay attention over the next 5 – 7 years. Facebook and Twitter are on a collision course. Someone will prevail with their arm raised….Champion of Social Media! My money is on Twitter but I am excited to see the battle. What do you think a world without Facebook looks like? Do you favor Twitter or Facebook? Share your thoughts below!