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Drew talks about SXSW, Facebook's redesign and Fark's lack of "Twitter initiatives". Bonus: headlines of the week for last week hidden at the bottom
Posted by Drew at 2009-03-23 1:45:27 PM (103 comments) | Permalink
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I was at South by Southwest (SXSW) last week in Austin. Everybody at SXSW loves the Twitter. I was asked what Fark's Twitter initiatives were. Truth to tell we haven't really fleshed that one out yet. Part of the reason is that Twitter is built to push messages out to your followers, the same way we put my blog posts to the main page of Fark (or for that matter anything else on the main page of Fark). But the other part of the reason is we just don't have the resources to be early adopters. For example, this Facebook Connect thing seems like it might be an okay idea, but it's too early to tell. We'll let other people figure it out. As Internet rabblerouser Joe Peacock already noted, until someone actually does work out a strategy, the concept of "Twitter initiatives" is doomed to become another one of those corporate buzzword things that eventually becomes a mockery of itself.
Speaking of Twitter initiatives, Facebook did a major redesign recently and the thing looks like Twitter now. Far be it from me to criticize other people's site redesigns (my official stance with any redesign is "you'll get over it"), but it seems strange to me that a site with 175 million users is so scared of a site with 6 million that it destroys what made Facebook unique to become an imperfect copy of Twitter.
Twitter content is actively updated. You say to yourself "I haven't told everyone what kind of cream cheese I ate on my bagel today", and you update your Twitter status so everyone knows. Facebook content on the other hand is secondary activity created when you try to do something like look up old friends, contact people, friend them, confirm party attendance, zombie bite them, whatever (with the exception of status updates, but that's only one piece of the functionality). Facebook content for the most part consists of secondary information about what you're doing on Facebook. Its the ripples in the pool as you move around. Twitter content IS what you're doing. Twitter is the actual swimming - you have to take the strokes. This distinction is important because intentional content creation has to be sustained. Secondary content creation is a side affect and just happens.
You may have noticed that the vast majority of people don't have anything interesting to say. They may eventually get Twitter accounts and they may update but the content sucks and no one cares. Far more people are going to be doing what they're doing on Facebook for far longer -- assuming (and this is the important bit) that Facebook doesn't fark up and forget what the hell people were on Facebook to do in the first place... Whoops, too late.
I don't think Facebook is in any danger from Twitter in the first place. It's probably not a bad thing that they're not resting on their successes, because something at some point is absolutely going to knock Facebook out of their number-one-hangout-spot-on-the-Internet slot. It seems to happen on a five year cycle. Before Facebook it was Myspace, before that it was AOL, Compuserve, Usenet, etc. If someone told you ten years ago that, not only would AOL NOT be the top hangout spot on the Internet but that it would have faded into relative obscurity, you wouldn't have believed it. I don't know what's coming after Facebook, but something inevitably will. However, it's not going to be Twitter. Unless Facebook inadvertently hands the crown to Twitter.
In short, always bet on people being lazy. Eventually, people will be too lazy to continue to update 140 word statuses over a period of years. Yes it's unimaginable right now, but AOL thought the same thing at one point.
Headlines Of The Week for Sun 2009-03-15 to Sat 2009-03-21:
Liberians granted temporary protection in the US may be sent back to their country, threaten to take Dewey Decimal System with them
Senate committee exploring 90% special tax for AIG bonus recipients, to be filed using form 1040FU
First two octuplets come home. If Nadya beats this level, she can unlock up to six more characters
"Blind kids on the brink of being shown the door." Well, maybe not "shown", exactly
Woman falls through ice on Walden Pond. She was rescued after a Thoreau search
"Plane wreckage found, pilot killed." Man, why'd they kill him when they found the wreckage
Music teacher jailed for playing in A Minor
Woman goes in for tummy tuck. Doctors accidentally give facelift. She's furious, but she can't stop smiling
Funeral home owner arrives at work 9:30 a.m. to find hearse stolen. Thief likely an early mourning person
Mental hospital escapee policy changes after nut bolted
You flip 16 tons, what do you get, 5000 evacuated and one hell of a mess. Rt. 33 is closed so you can't go, guess he won't swerve to miss deer no more
The Big Unit is temporarily out of action because of sore bicep. What Farker can't empathize with that?
Lions players no longer allowed to talk to media. Would use public relations website, but can't string three Ws together for the URL
Astros' Aaron Boone to have open heart surgery. Procedure said to be similar to when he tore the hearts out of Boston in 2003
Neurobiology research finds that consciousness arises from the coordinated interplay between all portions of the brain. Descartes seen tugging his collar, looking around nervously
Nearly 13% of people in longer relationships can still find the romance. 50% can find a lawyer. And 37% long for the relief that death brings
Scientists claim that all jokes fit into eight categories, amongst which are "qualification", "completion", "division" and "stolen from a Fark headline of three years ago"
Jenna Jameson gave birth to twin boys on Monday after an unexpected sneeze
"Twilight" DVD release reminiscent of "Harry Potter" releases: record crowds of virgins gather around Blockbuster dressed in capes
Tired of her blowing away all the time, Harrison Ford puts large metal ring on Calista Flockhart
Michelle Obama to plant an organic vegetable garden on South grounds of the White House, also installing giant Keith Olbermann scarecrow to keep Republicans out of their arugula
The Special Olympics wants President Obama to consider hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House. Submitter has somebody in mind, he's a professional brush-clearer from Texas who knows the White House well
Washington State legislature passes bill to make graduation easier. Math test requirements no longer required. Ability to calculate monthly earnings at minimum wage optional
Rapper 'King Tut' commits suicide. He could'a won a Grammy, will be buried in his jammies
Simon and Garfunkel reuniting for "Bridge Over Troubled Finances" tour
Family of LeAnn Rimes' husband confirms that he's gayer than an Oscar party at Elton John's house
Britain sees first drop in airline passengers since Lockerbie
Congress to AIG: Who taught you how to do this stuff? AIG: YOU, ALRIGHT? I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU
Britain hopes to create 13,000 jobs by introducing U.S.-style yellow schoolbuses to replace the oxcarts or whatever the hell they currently use
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