Facebook vs Twitter: one for Consolidation, one for Expansion

Facebook Imports Twitter’s Streaming Layout, along with its Fail Whale

I recently noticed that Facebook has had a lot of downtime after they created their new “News Feed”. Even as I write the post, Facebook is down.

I checked out the Twitter Search Stream for Facebook and it seems like hundreds of people are complaining about the same thing.

It looked like Facebook not only copied the Twitter Stream, but also imported the Fail Whale into their system. Maybe they can call it the Face Whale?

Facebook changed its format to combat Twitter

It’s no secret that the reason why Facebook made its switch is because it feels a little bit threatened by Twitter. Not too long ago, Facebook even tried to buy Twitter with their $15 Billion valuation stock”. Unfortunately, Facebook got a cold rejection.

Now the game is on.

Facebook thinks that, “Well, since we have all these users and we already have all the social data of people, lets just copy what makes Twitter popular and People will never find a reason to use Twitter anymore.

This is in one sense logical, because Facebook does have a lot of user data, and I sometimes hear people say “why would I want to use Twitter when I already use Facebook?”

So now your feeds and even your Facebook Wall look like Twitter’s Tweet Stream. Is Facebook the best thing in the world now?

Not really.

Even though Facebook and Twitter try to serve very similar purposes – becoming more connected with people you care about – they are completely different animals. Twitter’s uniqueness still lies in:

  1. It is cleaner and more refined
  2. It is more open and exploratory
  3. It highlights relationships based on merit, not friendship
  4. It is a constantly engaging game of gaining more merit and creating value

1. Twitter strips out a lot of automated junk and presents cleaner information

Compared to Twitter, we all know that there’s a lot more stuff you can pull from the Facebook Stream because of all the activities that are going on in Facebook.

However, nowadays we don’t necessarily lack information. We lack the tools that help us refine information.

The truth is that a lot of the interesting things on the internet does not happen on Facebook. When you look at the Facebook Feeds, there’s a ton of auto-generated stuff that are exclusively about Facebook. You rarely find good articles on Facebook through the Facebook Feeds or some breaking news hours before it is covered by a news source because all you see on the FB Feed is how many pictures your friends uploaded and who changed their profile pictures.

In Twitter, people pull in all kinds of information, sites, news, and resources from all over the internet. These are things they have deemed worthy of their followers to consume. And since people can easily opt-out of your Tweets (will cover later), everyone actually has some sort of quality control pressure, unlike Facebook.

Twitter clears out all the photo uploads, events, Zombie bites, and just tells you what your friends want to tell you in 140 characters.

2. Information on Twitter is more open than Facebook, making it more adventurous

The Twitter platform is way more open than Facebook. On Twitter, you get to know exactly what’s been discussed in the Twittersphere immediately. You can find out what’s on the mind of people in that community at any given moment.

On Facebook, you have to be peoples’ friends to know what’s going on in your circle. Obviously that’s not a bad thing because a lot of people just care about their real life friends.

However, Twitter allows you to explore a whole new world of cool stuff, cool people, and opportunities for you to discover and absorb. Through tons of Twitter Apps, you are able to find interesting people in any particular industry, in your location, celebrities that you care about who won’t friend you on Facebook, and all sorts of fun information.

Being on Twitter is definitely more like an adventure compared to Facebook’s Shire-nature of hanging out with your Hobbit friends.

3. One-Way Followships on Twitter Enhances Experience for both Tweeters and Followers

Another unique advantage Twitter has is the one-way followship. On Facebook, there may be a lot of information that you don’t really care about from friends. However, since most of them are your real friends, its not very socially acceptable to opt out of that by unfriending them.

On Twitter, since people follow each other based on merit more often than existing friendship, you follow people because you enjoy what they tweet, instead of if you are acquaintances in real life.

If someone starts to tweet a lot of junk, its an easy unfollow for everyone. You only see what you want to see.

On the other hand, because people can easily unfollow you if you are tweeting trash, people on Twitter have more pressure to tweet out things that are more interesting…at least according to themselves.

Every time you Tweet, you risk someone clicking the unfollow button. This makes most people tweet seriously.

4. Follower Acquisition makes Twittering a constantly-engaging game

Because of the one-way nature of Twitter, a lot of people begin to treat this as a fun game to “earn” the followship of more followers.

On Facebook, if you invite a lot of people, you will probably get a lot of friends. But on Twitter it doesn’t work this way. You can follow everyone, and no one needs to follow you back.

In that sense, having a follower on Twitter is way more meaningful than having a new friend on Facebook. You “earn” your right to become follow-worthy, and I can guarantee that seeing a new follower on Twitter feels MUCH better than having a random guy request to be your friend on Facebook.

Because of that, there are a lot of people who work very hard to seem interesting, tweet out quality information, and find funny/witty things to say, all just to delight and entertain people so they can become more “follow-worthy”. No one works this hard to get friends on Facebook.

Conclusion: Different Tools for Different Purposes

I actually don’t dislike Facebook. I use it and like it a lot. However, by nature, Facebook will not (and I will argue never) replace Twitter even if it has the same layout and function.

On the other hand, Twitter will not replace Facebook either. They should not even try by adding in more information, a larger profile page, and allowing more pictures. The beauty of Twitter lies in its limitations, instead of how much it encompasses.

Facebook is about maintaining a stronger relationship with existing friends, whereas Twitter is like an engaging game where you are constantly learning new things, exploring new fields and attracting new followers.

The Three Phases of a Startup

I’ve always believed that there are three phases of a startup, and they are:

I. You run the business

During this time, you are setting everything up. if you work harder, the business moves faster; if you don’t work, the business does not move at all. You can still deal with fulltime jobs, school, or other things since there is a lot of flexibility.

II. The business runs you

After a certain point, you start to lose control of the progress of the company. Tasks arise by itself in the business: your customers are demanding service, your employees need direction, problems need to be solved. At this point you can’t choose to stop working or work slowly, because this world does not wait for you, and being slow on progress simply means death for the company.

III. The business runs itself

Hopefully, after a lot of hard work, you will reach the point where the business runs itself. Systems are set up, revenue streams in, employees not what to do. If you take a vacation and come back, the business would become stronger itself. This is when you can fully work ON your business, not IN your business (thank you Michael Gerber). Sadly, very few business actually get to this state.

Brainstorming: Red Flags and Light Bulbs

At Future Delivery, we often come up with a lot of innovative and creative ideas. But sometimes there are just too many “good” and “cool” ideas, and it is hard to find the best one that we should do. After all, our resources are limited, and ideas are always the sweetest and most brilliant at the beginning. How do you find the idea that not just sounds cool at the beginning but is resource efficient and has the most sustaining value. To maneuver through all the cool and creative ideas, here’s a systematic approach on picking out the most valuable ideas.

Have the Calm Before the Brainstorm

A good brainstorming session must start with the right mentality and attitude. If you go into a discussion with a large bias or some personal issues with your teammates, it won’t be very fruitful. The first step is to really make sure the whole team has the same goal: to find the best solution. With that in mind, no one should take anything in this brainstorming session personal. Make sure you are thinking as objectively as possible, and that you are in good terms with all your teammates. That’s when you can really play the game well.

Don’t fall in love with your Ideas. Fall in love with your Teammates

I cannot stress this enough. When you are brainstorming, you should throw out every idea that you have, but you must be willing to have all of them overthrown. The fact is that for everything you come up with, you might be right, or you might be wrong. No one knows. If more than one person you truly trust thinks you are wrong, then the odds of you being right decreases dramatically. Yes, you might think that you are the only genius among a bunch of idiots, but that’s why working with people you can respect and trust is so essential. Always surround yourself with people you can respect or you will never be happy in life.

My co-founder Jun and I are very good at trying to destroy each other’s ideas, but we’re even more accepting to becoming convinced that our own ideas are trash. Being open to be proven wrong is EXTREMELY important because it makes people feel that disagreeing with you is fun. When I point out the flaws in Jun’s thinking, he fights back with more arguments, and once I nail him down by proving his comeback futile, he just says “meh…..:(” and gets over it. However, I’ve worked with people who start to feel that they are personally attacked and their ideas are not taken seriously. Come on, if I don’t take your ideas seriously, I wouldn’t even bother arguing with it.

Continue reading Brainstorming: Red Flags and Light Bulbs

Secret Power: The Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group: another political conspiracy theory

Here comes another conspiracy theory that is getting a lot of attention. It basically is saying that Obama is a puppet of an elitest group called the Bilderberg Group and is planning to create a single world government that controls everything.

One of the latest “evidence” regarding this theory is that Obama has nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Bilderberg attendee, as the Health and Human Services Secretary.

What is The Bilderberg Group?

The Bilderberg Group is an unofficial annual invitation-only conference/forum of between 100-150 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of politics, business, and finance. The Bilderberg folks have been meeting once every 4 years and they have been doing it since 1954.

Recently conspiracy theorists claimed that because Obama’s campaign has a lot of people who are Bilderberg attendees, and so he himself is controlled by the Bilderberg Group. The biggest punch from that statement comes from a video called The Obama Deception.

Why Bilderberger?

The big issue about the Bilderberg Group is that it is completely secret. No reporters are allowed, the attendee list is not published, and there are no press releases that go in detail what they talk about. They probably believe in “What happens in Bilderberg stays in Bilderberg” more than our Vegas crazy friends. While keeping it secret is all warm and fuzzy, the world gets stressed about things like that. Powerful people gathering in secrecy is like a kid’s parents grouping together and whispering something in secret. They have a lot of power over the kid, and they don’t want the kid to know what they’re thinking.

Other conferences like Davos and Council on Foreign Relations are all quite transparent, unlike the stealthy nature of the Bilderberg Group. For this reason, the Bilderberg Group has been getting some catchy descriptions like “the most powerful manipulators of society” and “Masters of the Universe” that are taking us “towards a One World Empire.”

Continue reading Secret Power: The Bilderberg Group