Director's ChairThis Facebook v. twitter rivalry feels like it was ripped from a cheesy movie.


Scene: Let’s say a high school.

Protagonist: Oh, why not the Jock who has a ton of friends.

Plot: A new student is moving to town and he’s… different. This New Guy breaks all the rules and everyone starts liking him more.

The Jock doesn’t like the New Guy coming in and taking over his turf. What does he do? He tries to bribe the New Guy into joining his clique. He hopes to keep his popularity by shutting the New Guy’s game down but the New Guy is too much of a rebel. He refuses to join because he can see right through the Jock and his ulterior motives.

The Jock sees that desperate times call for desperate measures. He starts to change, little by little, to make himself look like the New Guy. Unfortunately for the Jock, everyone can see what he’s trying to do and they don’t like it.

The Jock kept on trying to change who he was just to match the New Guy, who continued to stick to what worked for him and gained popularity in his own unique ways.

Okay that’s enough of my amazing script writing skills.

What brought this on was Facebook’s latest change to its layout, which came into effect for me just shy of 11 p.m. on March 11, according to my twitter update.

Facebook HomepageOn March 4, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his blog about the latest changes coming to everyone’s homepages.

“The new home page will let you see everything that’s shared by your friends and connections as it happens,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It will also provide you more control by letting you choose exactly who you see among the people and things you are connected to. You can decide you no longer want to get updates from your old friend from high school who you rarely talk to, or you can filter the stream to only see updates about your family members.”

The changes that Facebook is making sounds a lot like it’s trying to match the stream of information that twitter is giving its users. The changeover took place throughout the day (and are still happening as I write this). I saw many people tweeting their thoughts as it happened.  At one point, someone described it as “twitterish” which I find to be the best word for it. It’s similar to what twitter does on its homepage, except it has the added bonus of real time updating, pictures, videos and group filters.

Early on (<24 Hrs. for me) I don’t really care for the changes. Sure the real time updates have the things I mentioned above, but it lacks the appeal twitter has for me. I don’t see Facebook users taking advantage of the real time conversation that the developers are trying to achieve (just yet anyway). The culture of Facebook so far has been one of creeping other peoples home pages through what they saw on the news feed and then they may comment. It might take time before users take advantage of the “twitterish” setup, just like it takes many people time to get used to twitter after they join.

Do you get the impression that Facebook is trying to be like the ‘New Guy’ twitter? Is it failing? Succeeding?