Facebook Won The Conversation Battle

Well, it took several days, but I finally got the new Facebook homepage. With this redesign, Facebook realized the battle is for conversation. Conversation makes a site more of a destination for people, and the new redesign is completely targeted towards this. As much as sites like Twitter and FriendFeed have been battling for the conversation destination title, I warned that Facebook could just decide that they need to own something.

Facebook has just won the conversation battle. Why? The reasons are fairly simple. First, they have almost 200 million users staring at the “What’s on your mind?” prompt. All of the other social sites combined do not have anywhere near this number of unique users. You will probably not hear this from many bloggers, because they tend to be early adopters. Those people, myself included, will stick with Twitter. This is about the mainstream. Facebook is most definitely a mainstream site. One killer feature they have that Twitter does not is lists. I quickly created lists for groups of my Facebook friends and was able to view their updates without the noise of the “news feed”. There are even predefined filters for photos, links and videos. Search capabilities are a glaring omission, but that is not as important to the mainstream user. That is only important for people building third party applications.

The other big reason that Facebook may be crowned king is that all of the social sites in the conversation battle have either written a Facebook application or have their feed being pulled in as status updates. It is fairly simple to import your Google Reader shared items, your Twitter status updates, your FriendFeed and SocialMedian activity. The lure of a potential audience of 200 million users is too great to not create some hook into Facebook.

Another interesting thing about the new homepage is that the design does not suck. It is fairly intuitive to use. The lists and filters on the left are expandable and sortable. Just a simple drag of a list name can change the order of your friend lists.

Does this mean that the other sites will die or never be heard from again? No, they will continue to gain acceptance for various reasons. People like myself will continue to use FriendFeed because there is a lot of information and good discussion occurring. Early adopters will continue to use Twitter because that is where they made contact with other early adopters. Things will continue as they have been, but the battle for the mainstream conversations is over.

8 thoughts on “Facebook Won The Conversation Battle

  1. Rob, there is one problem with Facebook. ok, 200M users, but unlike Twitter, only your friends can see your activities. Also, Google is not indexing Facebook. Important points.


  2. Avi,

    I termed everything specifically because of this. Twitter will have different uses. Why do you need to see the public feed of Twitter? Probably to find information. I am only talking about “conversation” here. Search is a completely different issue which Facebook is missing the boat on. I wrote about that on SearchEngineJournal.com earlier this week.

    They are important points, but with 200M users they can move mountains.


  3. I’m still adjusting to the new Facebook page presentation, but it’s only a matter of time. I think your points are right on the mark, but I can also see that Facebook could take over virtually all conversation as Facebook becomes an Internet portal to rival what MSN, Yahoo, and Google have done. IMHO, of course, but I think that’s the next step: for Facebook to become everyone’s portal to the Web. Will it happen? Maybe not, but if I were Zuckerman et al, I’d be thinking portal.


  4. Mark,

    Moving into the portal space is hard, but you could also argue that they already are. They key is what you offer as a destination. The only thing Facebook is really missing at this point is real news integration, pulling stuff from the AP, Reuters or NY Times. Not sure how they would fit that into the current interface though.


  5. Rob, points well taken. I used to have Twitter status update to FB, but after the UI change, it felt different and compelled me to delink the two. I am still trying to get used to it, but I know feel that I need to manage both channels. I see fb,myspace, twitter as places to go, and like you said “conversations”, or I will go a step further, the quality of the content of such conversations is what attracts people, be them your friends, families or strangers. This is just the beginning, and tomorrow is an unknown, and that’s what makes the online world so exciting to be part of .. the unknown!


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