Big news over the weekend in tech space. Facebook is opening their status API (as well as a few other aspects of the Facebook platform). What does this mean? Well, essentially Facebook is allowing other people to develop apps that build more value. Twitter has been set up this way for some time, so it’s very interesting that Facebook chose to do it. Fred Wilson (a Twitter investor) thinks this means that Facebook is acknowledging that status is the most important part of the social graph.
Some other views:
Nick O’neil of AllFacebook.com: Twitter is a dead duck.
Dave Winer (a favorite of mine): It isn’t over, but it’s heating up.
Marc Canter: Twitter is worth about half as much as it was a week ago.
My take is that this is really big news and that Facebook not getting Twitter with the 500mm offering seems a little more relevant now that they’re targeting this (communication) space. But Facebook is NOT Twitter and vice versa. I message completely differently on the latter than the former, but there are probably a lot of people who would be happy to use Facebook as such. FB, for all of my network, uses the status update very casually and not nearly so often as Twitter. Tweets are expected to be frequent and wide ranging (so some are status, some are news, some are pointers to other web stuff, IE digg like) and I have a feeling that those two representations of the service probably scale to both sites universally.
That means these are two different kinds of services. For now. Facebook sees how disruptive and powerful Twitter has become in such a little time. My guess is that they had a strategic session revolving where status update is and where it’s going, then decided it was a communication medium (BUSINESS) they wanted or needed to be in as it matured. So they opened up.
Can it scale? Of course. FB has proven its ability in scaling anything quickly. The question is if it can alter and become what Twitter has. I’m not so sure about that. If you follow me on Twitter, be prepared for a torrent of whatever I deem worthy to broadcast. I won’t use FB like that, at least until the rest of the network does. Their audiences seem pretty disparate. It’ll be interesting to see what 3rd party developers and FB themselves do. They could try to emulate tweeting or just let it evolve on it’s own.
UPDATE: I forgot to link to Fred Wilson and his thoughts. He is one of the most impressive writers in the blogosphere and completely worth reading on a normal basis.