As of Facebook’s latest update, it looks like they’re doing something that seems very similar to Twitter, the popular microblogging service that has been picking up steam in recent months. This latest update focuses primarily on Facebook’s Status Updates feature, which allows its users to post short messages describing what they’re doing at that point – similarly to how Twitter is used. One of the primary reasons that helped boost Twitter into the limelight, though, was that many of its users connected to the service via a mobile service, allowing them to update their Twitter messages in real time. Facebook’s implementation of Status Updates was a novelty at best, due to the fact that you could only update your status if you were on facebook.com, in a browser of some sort (could be on your mobile, but that wouldn’t be as convenient), and that you were logged in.
As of a few hours ago, you can now update your Facebook status messages using your mobile, you can subscribe to your friends’ status message updates via SMS, and you can easily send status updates from your phone by sending an SMS to Facebook.
As Facebook puts it:
While we were at it, we decided to make some other improvements. Here’s what’s shiny and new:
- Your friends’ three most recent updates on the home page
- A brand new page to see all your friends’ updates at once
- An RSS feed to put your friends’ updates in your reader of choice
- The ability to subscribe to a friend’s updates via SMS
- The ability to easily update status from your phone by sending an SMS to Facebook starting with the “@” character
To me, it doesn’t seem like Facebook is gunning for Twitter, since it has no reason to. The status updates feature is just a very minor pleasing addition to Facebook, at best. But, because of its (new) convenience, Facebook’s already-huge popularity, and my theory that people will eventually just want to send a few updates a day instead of dozens (something which I’ve begun to notice already), it appears as though Facebook has just begun to chip away at Twitter (which already chipped away heavily at Dodgeball.) Add to that the fact that Twitter has suffered a lot of server downtime due to its growing aches and pains, and that Facebook has had phenomenal uptime (99.96% on average), then it makes it easier to see how quickly this new Facebook feature has the potential to grow. Twitter’s slow performance, which some attribute to Ruby on Rails’ poor performance, can also be likened to when Friendster had its own fair share of performance issues.
Will Twitter suffer the same fate that Friendster did? There are already discussions regarding Twitter’s downfall, so maybe this new Facebook feature goes down the middle, and will be just what the doctor ordered?
One thing I must say, is that I very much prefer Facebook status updates because I don’t have to attempt to convert my friends over to Twitter when they’re already using Facebook! And, all of their updates are neatly placed on a single page, similar to Twitter (except with a noticeable decrease in load time).
Do you agree with what I’ve said? Do you disagree? Can my conclusions be considered ‘crazy talk’? Post your thoughts in a comment!
Looks like other people have similar thoughts:
Looks like this FINALLY made it to Techmeme. More on this news here. Looks like Mashable finally caught up to this story.