What would Facebook hope to get from Twitter?

Techcrunch is reporting on Twitter’s decision to pass on an acquisition by Facebook and a lot of people are tracking this like a major news story.  I think it’s just the continuation of the hype machine.

I’m not the biggest fan of Twitter … I consider it interesting, yet frustrating given their sheer lack of concern for actual conversation.  While it’s been able to attract a core early adopter set and the blogger “A-List” it’s way too challenging for a mass market audience to use.  In the time since it’s launch we’ve seen the release of an API which has certainly made posting and tracking simpler, but since there’s neither threading nor notification alerts it’s quite easy to just miss a reply if you happen to look away. 

Facebook on the other hand recently redesigned their service with a focus on status updates and seems to have eclipsed the intent of Twitter with a far richer experience.  I’ve found the facebook threading and alerts to be excellent and as a result have actually found myself in Facebook far more often than I was previously.  Granted there is no public timeline in Facebook and discovering new people of interest is much harder since it tends to happen through the friend of a friend mechanism.  

Facebook has a considerably greater audience globally, an excellent mobile experience and a foundation based on sharing between friends.  Twitter has remained a glorified IRC chat room where everyone shouts and you are out of the flow if you stop paying direct attention for a few minutes.  


The Facebook userbase almost certainly includes most of the Twitter base so what’s really to acquire here?  The brand perhaps … I suppose there’s credibility there and the alleged offer of $500 Million even as Facebook stock has to be quite flattering.  That said, it is stock not cash and there’s certainly no certainty playing that game these days.

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