Facebook vs Twitter: Why facebook will never be twitter
I've always wanted to follow more people that I know in real life on twitter. And I've been a passionate evangelist to the platform (I'm currently writing a Facebook app to publish facebook status to Twitter: Kepo).
I have Tweetdeck organized by noise-to-signal ratio predictions; one column for twitterpeeps that I don't want to miss, one for replies and all the other twitterpeeps that I follow. Yesterday, I've added another column to show facebook statuses. Now that I got what I wanted to consume Facebook Statuses from one client app, I am suddenly not so keen on the idea anymore. My feed's noise to signal ratio suddenly becomes much higher, as I'm bombarded with informations from my facebook contacts.
What's interesting here is that I'm starting to realise that Facebook Status and Twitter are really 2 different things, even seemingly look alike.
Facebook Status is about keeping up to date with people you know; social friends and families. Let's call this Symbiotic Following. It encourages existing relationship to flourish even more by increasing the rate of information exchange between the members. The assumption is (by default); one will be interested in what their friends 'have on their mind' because they have chose to "be friends". This is similar to what Windows Live messenger have been doing in the last decade with their custom status.
Twitter, on the other hand, is all about picking and choosing the right stream to consume that is of best value to you. Most its users are basing their decision to follow someone by the type and quality of information other users share on their stream. This is something that Twitter does best as a consequence of being such monolithic-single-purpose web application. It (somewhat) dettaches the idea from the author.The 'follow' model is also obviously very different to its symbiotic 'add as friend' counterpart. These 2 charasteristics made Twitter a perfect breeding ground for Asymmetric Following relationships.
Facebook and Twitter are so different. All these differences and subtle characteristics of the platform eventually contribute to the context (therefore;quality) and accessibility of their information feeds. This is why Facebook will never be Twitter even if it tried. Facebook lives based on its exclusivity and to compete with companies like Twitter, they have to let go the base principle that it holds.