Facebook copies Twitter – If you can’t buy it, cheat

March 4, 2009

There is, of course, a certain amount of crossover with all the various social media sites. Some, such as Facebook and MySpace are almost identical, while others such as FriendFeed and Twitter offer something a little different. But if one company likes the way another one does business, it just copies it. Simple.

Facebook tried to buy Twitter at the back-end of last year. Reports suggest Mark Zuckerberg and company offered Biz Stone and company up to $500 million in stocks and up to $100 million in cash. But it wasn’t enough, and despite having no real revenue-generating plan in place, Twitter said no to the deal.

That was in November, and here we are just a few months later hearing that Facebook is planning a series of changes to its homepage and how the flow of information coming onto the site is displayed. It seems in the world of social media, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, or just a way of trying to steal a rival company’s thunder in light of their refusal to be bought out.

Facebook has changed massively since originally launching as a college-only social network. Once offering nothing more than just a way of connecting with others, it now offer many different features which can mean users waste huge swathes of their day messing about on the site. I should know.

Facebook users already receive a constant stream of updates, about what their friends are doing, saying, photos uploaded, and videos watched. But until now, this information has been pretty limited and only updated sporadically.

In a blog post on the official Facebook blog, Zuckerberg outlines how this will change soon. The homepage will now be updated in real-time, and a whole host of options will make Facebook feel a lot more like a cross between Twitter and FriendFeed than it ever has before.

You’ll now be able to define what information is going to be coming your way, and if you want, just few the highlights. Instead of asking, “What are you doing right now?” the status box will now ask, “What’s on your mind?” which opens the conversation up massively. You’ll also be able to add photos and videos to their updates instantly.

This move makes sense, because people seem to be veering away from Facebook towards Twitter due to its real-time nature. Whether this will entice people back remains to be seen but either way, neither Twitter or FriendFeed can be happy at seeing elements of their services utilized by a rival.

Inside Facebook has a more in-depth look at the changes, due to have hit everyone’s profile by March 11.

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