Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Twitter Can’t Seem to Keep Up with Facebook

The “network effect” is a phrase that is used to describe systems whose value is based on the total number of users. Take the fax machine, for instance. You may have the newest or best model available but if no one else uses one, your fax machine becomes useless.

The network effect is the reason why many chat rooms have disappeared. Not enough people were using these chat rooms which is why they closed down. However, two online services that are currently benefiting from the network effect are Facebook and Twitter. At present, Facebook has over 150 million users who use the service to connect with old friends, discover new ones and hook up with the right people.

At second place is Twitter which has more than 50 million users. Twitter is a mini version of Facebook except that the length of information you can share with others is limited. In this social networking service, people send each other telegraphic messages no longer than 140 characters each. Unlike Facebook, the most you can do with Twitter is share status updates. This is why it doesn’t come close to Facebook in terms of the network effect.

Many Twitter users have little to say and often this means that their messages have little or no value at all. This explains why most people are turned off by it. Many good speakers end up as Twitter bores because they are limited by what they have to say every few minutes.

No doubt even the best writers would labor over having to post a steady stream of 140-character tweets or Twitter messages. Just to say anything, some people even use Twitter to tell others that they’re off to the store to buy milk or have to use the john. It’s a shame that millions of dollars in technology is used to read other people’s to-do lists. These are just some of the reasons why Twitter can’t keep up with Facebook.

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