It’s Twitter Week here here at WhatItAllBoilsDownTo HQ and today is the day for Twitter’s leaked new web layout.
The common response seems to be that with this layout Twitter is trying to be Facebook. Quite honestly, I cannot see how a layout change, even when it includes more images, changes Twitter into Facebook.
First, there are no super secret algorithms controlling my feed and specifying what i do and don’t see. Facebook doesn’t show you everything your friends and brands share, but rather a selection based on what they deem you will find interesting. I have often missed important (important for Facebook, let’s not exaggerate the importance here) updates from my close friends and family because Facebook did not think they were important enough whereas a new bank is something they though I’d love. Twitter’s feed is just a stream of ALL the posts my followings share. From the product perspective I think this is the biggest difference between Twitter and Facebook.
Second, I choose who to follow and it’s one sided, so I can really pick people who I don’t know in real life and who are thought leaders in their respective fields, whatever those fields may be. I have so many options to customize the posts I see and it’s clearly under my control. In Facebook the one-sided relationships are mostly with brands and celebrities, not necessarily the thought leaders.
Based on those two things alone, Twitter cannot become Facebook just by adding pictures. Last week when Facebook released its Paper app I said the same thing: the people I am friends with on Facebook cannot provide me with the news-type information I get on Twitter so Facebook has a long way to go before it becomes Twitter. It’s time to realize that while they are both called social networks they are completely different products.
Finally, it turns out that 85% of Twitter access is via mobile so who cares what the web interface looks like?