According to ReadWriteWeb's Sarah Perez, Twitter VP for business and corporate development Kevin Thau said today that Twitter is not a social network. I seem to recall Facebook saying the same thing a couple years ago.
You may recall an email that Facebook
sent a user when their account was deleted, which said "Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a “social networking site".
Wow, that upcoming Facebook movie really is fiction. It's even called The Social Network.
Now, Twitter isn't one either? Oh, that's right, it's a microblogging service...right? To quote Perez, Thau says, "Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information."
Of course Facebook and Twitter are both social networks, but Thau's words illustrate just how social networks have evolved over the last several years to play increasingly integral parts in not only our online lives, but our very society.
Twitter is all of those things, and it also connects users to a network of friends and followers (socially). The same can be said of Facebook. You can get news, content, and information from Facebook just the same. You can also play games and buy/sell goods, and just tell people mundane things.
Google's working on a social network right? Google Me
. Guess what. Google's been a social network for years
, connecting you to your network of contacts through services like Gmail, Google Talk, Google Reader, Google Buzz, etc.
So Facebook and Twitter aren't social networks why? Because they serve multiple purposes? Does that mean Gmail isn't an email service? You can chat with people (through text or video), organize events, and do all kinds of magical things in there.
If you ask me, social networks are still social networks. It's just that what we can do with social networks continues to expand, and our networks themselves continue to as well, particularly as people openly (and sometimes not so openly) share more data publicly.
I guess you could say that the whole web is a social network at this point, made up of a series of other social networks, many of which are connected in one way or another.
No matter how you define "social network" it's clear that society is becoming more connected than ever before, and communication has opened up at a scale that's never occurred before in history. Sounds like one social network to me.
Is Twitter a social network. You tell me.