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Can Twitter Beat Facebook and Google+?

iOS 5 Twitter integration already a huge benefit for company

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Can Twitter Beat Facebook and Google+?
[ Social Media]

As you might imagine, there’s been a lot of talk about social networks at the Web 2.0 Summit, and particularly the escalating three-way battle among Facebook, Google and Twitter. While Google and Facebook have had their fair share of announcements recently, Twitter just added some major firepower to its arsenal, courtesy of Apple.

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One thing does seem clear. Deep Twitter integration with Apple’s iOS is huge for Twitter.

“The iOS integration is going to be absolutely huge for us, even better than we thought it was,” CEO Dick Costolo is quoted as saying at the Summit. “I didn’t realize how frictionless this would be. It’s so native.”

As far as Costolo is concerned, it is Twitter’s simplicity that is its biggest weapon against Facebook and Google+ (although I’d say that iOS integration is a pretty helpful weapon). He says part of the reason that Twitter has become so popular is because of its simplicity, and the fact that they’ve refrained from adding too many features, implying that this will continue to separate them from the pack as competitors continue to add more and more features.

That’s an interesting point, because Facebook and Google are basically in a “feature race” as Google’s Bradley Horowitz recently put it. In fact, Google CEO Larry Page touted the fact in the company’s earnings call last week, that Google+ added 100 features in 90 days.

Facebook certainly keeps changing things up.

Costolo’s comments are also interesting considering that this year, Twitter has perhaps added more features than any other time in Twitter’s history (since co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company). Dorsey, by the way, has recently even been called “the next Steve Jobs,” and by an early Apple employee. He does also run Square, which many see as a revolutionary product in the payments industry. It can’t hurt Twitter to have this kind of leadership at the core of its product development.

Perhaps the more important battle, however, is that for identity, rather than features, and that’s another area where that tight iOS integration might come in handy for Twitter. Apple announced that in its first 3 days of availability, it sold 4 million iPhone 4S devices (which run iOS 5). iOS 5 is also available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3rd generation, and iPod Touch 4th generation. Word is that a third of eligible devices have already been updated (which means potentially 2/3 more could still be upgraded), and Costolo says daily iOS Twitter sign-ups have already tripled due to the new iOS integration.

The description of the Twitter integration from Apple says: “iOS 5 makes it even easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.”

Once iOS 5 was finally released last week, Twitter wrote a blog post about it saying: “Simply enter your Twitter login information into your device settings, and you’ll always be connected to your Twitter account. This means you can tweet directly from Apple apps like Camera, Maps, Photos, Safari and YouTube, along with third party apps, such as Chomp, Flipboard, LivingSocial, Instagram, MadPad, PopSugar, Showyou,SoundTracking and Zynga’s Words with Friends.”

Twitter on iOS

And it’s not as if you have to use iOS to use Twitter.

“We think we can reach every person on the planet, we think the way to do that is to simplify it,” Costolo is quoted as saying. “Over time, Google+ and Facebook will be more and more different than the experience we want to pass onto our users.”

On that note, the Telegraph has some interesting words from former Facebook President Sean Parker (who is still a shareholder), most notably, “The strategic threat to Facebook is that power users have gone to Twitter or to Google+.”

That doesn’t mean that all (or even the majority of) power users have abandoned Facebook entirely, but if a lot of them are using these competing services more, that means less time spent somewhere.

You know who else seems to be using Twitter more and more? The young.

Back to that topic of identity for a second. There is a lot of controversy about identity and the Internet. Facebook and Google+ both want your real identity as your identity with their respective services. I’m Chris Crum in real life, so they want me to be Chris Crum on Facebook and Google+ (Google is even stingy about what pics it lets authors use on their Google Profiles). On Twitter, however, I’m CCrum237. If I wanted, I could be anyone else I wanted to be (as long as the name wasn’t taken). There are valid points to both sides of the Internet anonymity debate, but the reality is that our online identities are being tied much more to the real world. It’s not just about status updates and picture sharing anymore. It’s about paying for goods at a store (among other things). At least that’s the direction we’re headed in. But that’s a conversation for another article.

4Chan founder Christopher Poole is quoted as saying at the summit that Facebook and Google approach to identity “degrades humanity,” and that “Facebook and Google do our identity wrong, Twitter does it better.” He’s just one man, but you better believe there are quite a few people who share similar views, and that is one clear differentiator of Twitter compared to its competitors. That’s one thing you can get with Twitter that you can’t get with Facebook or Google+. And that’s just another piece of the puzzle.

Twitter is currently worth $8 billion according Costolo, who is quoted as saying, “Let’s just call it an even $8 billion.” I have a feeling that number is going to go up substantially.

According to Costolo, Twitter users are sending out about 250 tweets per day. I’d be surprised if that number hasn’t increased significantly in another month.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Twitter will be dethroning Facebook as the most-used social network in the near future, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen one day. Remember when Myspace was on top? Either way, it’s going to be an interesting battle to watch, especially now that Twitter is heavily integrated with the ultra popular iPhones and iPads.

What do you think? Will Twitter ever be able to surpass Facebook? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Can Twitter Beat Facebook and Google+?
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  • Tom Walsh

    Twitter Sucks!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I guess that settles that.

  • Jack

    The only thing I use twitter for is to set up an account with them when I initially open a new website and post about 5 tweets, set up my description and URL and never ever look at it again.

  • http://www.allwriteink.com Deborah Chaddock Brown

    Don’t let two people dictate the answer. Twitter is a real time connection with customers, prospects and others in your industry. Facebook is a time drain geared towards a more social conversation. Unless you are a retailer or restaurant for which Facebook has some benefit, Twitter is a better way to keep your finger on the pulse of your customer’s needs and wants. But you have to take the time to understand how to use it properly. Follow me @putcustomers1st

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Interesting point about business use. This is going to be an especially important facet to keep an eye on with Google+. We’re still waiting to see what Google does with the brand profiles. Given Google’s important role in search, Google certainly has some advantages in that area.

  • http://www.portalcm.com Laura Ramos

    Is Google+ really even in this “race”?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I would say yes, because of the fact that Google+ is Google. What it all boils down to in the end, and I’ve written on this in the past, is that Google+ is just a feature of Google as the broader entity. It’s about the Google account. “Google+ is Google,” is a statement that came from Google itself. Google plans to integrate it with everything. This isn’t another Google Buzz. It really comes back to the whole identity thing discussed in the article.

      • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

        I don’t like how Google is going about getting people to use Google+. Basically the only reason people jumped on the Google+ bandwagon was fear that their websites would drop in rankings while the competition was using Google+ to drive their rankings higher. Google still is only testing to see if the +1 ratings will actually be a good signal to use for relevancy in search. I think it’s a bad idea to use this as a relevancy signal and good for a recommendation signal. There are already business that are giving away free stuff if you like them on Facebook (like free coupons), and so I could see a business getting +1′s for the sake of getting free stuff or even content that you wouldn’t be able to see unless you +1 the business. I’d like to hear how Google plans to stop this from happening as who wouldn’t +1 a business for say a free taco at Del Taco? I liked Del Taco on Facebook so that I can always print out a coupon when I want to eat at Del Taco, and I’m sure a lot of others did for that reason too.

  • http://www.adovationz.co.nz Digby

    There is no way anyone will beat Facebook.

    Facebook has the market world-wide.

    If you want to meet up with friends and family, you need to go to the site with the most members – Facebook.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I don’t think it’s so much about going to the site with the most members, as it is to the site where YOUR friends and family are. That might still be Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it always will be, though it could be for the foreseeable future.

      And for the record, FB, Google+ and Twitter are all co-existing fairly well right now.

  • http://signature.eu.com signature Image Consultants

    Twittter KISS (Keep it simple and stupid) Excuse my colloquialism but the masive take up of smartphones particulary iPhone sales makes Twitter a clear front runner in this vertical market. With Google running a close second. It could even end up like Internet Explorers browser domination of the early 90′s when Microsoft factory shipped IE with their OS. We’ll have to wait and see

  • http://brettschulte.com Brett Schulte

    Twitter doesn’t need to BEAT anyone to be successful.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      This is true, but I’m sure they’d be happy to have more time spent on Facebook shifted over Twitter, and certainly the ID aspect.

  • http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/ Marisa Constantinides

    All social networking sites are good, as we have different types of contac with our friends/circles, etc., but for networked educators, Twitter is the hub, the main point from which all else radiates.

    @Marisa_C

    • http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/ Marisa Constantinides

      Athough I do miss some good features which twitter did away with

      http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/2011/06/25/the-new-twitter-and-why-i-dont-like-it/

  • http://www.alda-architects.co.uk Alan

    Twitter and FaceBook are different tools and have different uses. It is like comparing a torque wrench with a spanner.

    They also appeal to different personalities.

    On twitter a few quick words, nothing more. No complexity. That is, and will be, its limit. At best it is concise and precise, at its worst it is an endless stream of twittering noise.

    On FaceBook more detail is possible, it is more visual, but often it is just disconnected entities streaming down the page.

    I am somewhat concerned at much of the control freaky that has crept into Google. It may well be their eventual undoing.

  • http://www.furpetsonly.com Renwick Jeffrey

    If brevity is the essence of wit as Shakespeare said. Then Twitter may win. But, without face book you can’t have a wall to post things on that are more than 140 characters. I have seen many tweets that refer the reader to facebook. Maybe, we need both.

  • http://www.agnarchy.com Leo

    I believe that this is a moot point. Every Twitter user I know has a Facebook and most are also hopping onto Google+ as well. I do notice that people Tweet more often than they update their FB status.

    I don’t think this is a race to dethrone each other. They all benefit from each other actually.

  • http://rjnselection.co.uk Rich

    ‘it is Twitter’s simplicity that is its biggest weapon’ thats the key in my opinion, it is quicker and easier for everyone to use

  • morld

    Google+ controversial post by Google engineer http://morldtechgossips.blogspot.com/2011/10/steve-yegges-rant-about-google.html

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Yeah we rean an article about that too. It was definitely interesting.

  • http://www.batur-segarahotel.com wayan

    basic to luxury rooms available, at foot of Batur volcano, beside batur lake

  • http://www.bespecial.ro Bijuterii Argint

    as far as business use of social media is concerned, we did not get to use Google+ yet, but we used both Facebook and Twitter and we noticed some big differences:

    Facebook pros:
    - great for complex campaigns such as contests (you can post campaign rules and winner drawings; although this is somehow against their policy, most business accounts on Facebook use it that way to create buzz! )
    - great for adding content to attract potential customers (e.g.: extended product photo albums)

    Facebook cons:
    - lot’s of low income people, mostly youngsters, that have time to spend on Facebook but are not really buyers
    - busy people with available budget to spend do not really have the time to use Facebook as most of them realize it’s quite a time drain
    - paid advertising on Facebook have generated very low sales/conversion which confirms the above feeling that either people spending time on Facebook have little budget to spend or simply use Facebook as a friend/personal communication tool (I myself fall into this category)

    Twitter pros:
    - very simple to use once you understood how it works (the initial contact with Twitter seems to be quite confusing for many people I talked to, including myself, but if you are persistent enough to really understand it you will see the benefits; for myself, the somehow illogical structure of displaying info on the Twitter site was quite confusing ..)
    - on Twitter you would find more people with budgets to spend (including busy business people that are rarely active on Facebook, if they happen to have a FB account..)
    - very good for simple campaigns or as a notification tool (a very good way of notifying people and driving traffic to a campaign landing page)
    - much easier to use it permanently via mobile phones, so no surprise Tweeter teemed up with Apple! very smart and natural move!

    please keep us posted on Google+ progress as we are quite curious where they would go with that from a business use perspective!

  • SeoCatalysts

    From my point of view,there is only competition between facebook and Google+ . Twitter is not in a race…Because it is used as for the different purpose and in a different way

  • http://www.rudraayurveda.com/ Roy

    There could be race between Google & Facebook but its almost impossible for Twitter to beat anyone of them.

  • Zac

    What is this, a soap opera? Hooray for a Google+ invite, Facebook has peaked, Google+ is great, Google+ may maim twitter, Facebook is worried about Google+, Google+ catches up, Google+ is dead, Facebook has cool new features, Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, and now Twitter threatens both of them.

  • http://www.virgilioclementejr.com Virgilio

    Twitter is the rage, it dominates, quick simple short burst for the person on the go. Yahooo bam bam (just something I always say)

  • http://www.bytelaunch.com/ Search engine optimization Orange County

    I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. No i don’t think so. Twitter can’t Beat Facebook and Google+

  • Johnson olekachi

    I think tweeter can never even come close to facebook talkless of google & facebook.

  • http://bradmc.com BradMc

    You just can’t compare them that directly. Saying that Twitter would like to steal users’ time from Facebook is like saying they’d like to steal time from any other site on the web.

    Google+ is certainly in direct competition with Facebook with threaded conversations and rich media, although it doesn’t stand to fare well until Facebook makes some sort of really big misstep, which is certainly possible.

    But Twitter currently has no direct competition other than the occasional halfhearted attempt by others to create a public timeline, which never works because the propagation methods are different and the messages are too long with too much varying content.

    They are different animals with differing uses and different message propagation and content models. Another way to look at it is that if either Twitter or Facebook went away tomorrow, neither one’s functionality could replace the other. Some might try to make a case that Facebook could do what Twitter does, but that would be wrong. (Although I believe Facebook did buy FriendFeed a while back, which may have full standalone Twitter functionality within in.)

  • http://www.iblogzone.com DiTesco

    It is always difficult to predict anything on the internet. In my opinion, I think that if the world goes more and more mobile, then there is a slight chance that Twitter may be the preferred choice by many. If it is going to eliminate FaceBook or G+ for completely, I am not sure, but if things move like what I have been doing, I’ve nearly abandoned the use of FB.

  • http://www.wpwebhost.com Ricardus

    Twitter is more on the short and simple way. But to beat Facebook and Google+, each is playing by it’s own sets of rules. Different league I would say. Pros and cons of every social media tools are there. There’s no flawless social media tools yet as of now.