Big shifts in microblog/social networking world

What a week in the microblog world.

First Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had a ton of really nasty articles written about him after his CFO left and was replaced. My take? Zuck got the service to 200 million and he’s one of the smartest businesspeople I’ve met. He’s also young and has definite ideas of where he’d like to take Facebook. He also has investors that he has to listen to at least a little bit. Add all that up and it’s a spot I’m glad I’m not in. That said Zuckerberg and crew are so close to the gold that their metal detectors must be going nuts. Now they have to execute and get show us how they are going to add businesses to the social graph and also how they are going to build public entities so that they can take the hype away from Twitter. If they get those two done, they’ll cash in big time. But those are two big ifs, especially if there are major management troubles like what some of the bloggers are sensing.

The second big shift this week was Mike Arrington’s reporting that Twitter is in talks with Google to be sold for a quarter billion dollars. First, disclosure: I really don’t like Twitter’s management team. I think they have more problems than Zuckerberg. They treat their community even worse than Facebook does. Their technology has been horrid (and still has major problems, when I refresh Twitter 100 times I see a Fail Whale at least five times, if not more). But, no one can argue the fact that Twitter has gotten more PR in the past 30 days than any other company I can remember getting in the past year. Everytime I turn on TV or Radio lately I hear “we just Tweeted.” That alone is worth a ton and they deserve to be compensated for yet again building a great brand. Why does Google want Twitter? Easy, search features. How did I learn about the Chinese earthquake? Well, that was by accident (I was the first American to tell someone else about the earthquake) because I follow so many people. But what did I do after that? I went to http://search.twitter.com and started watching what everyone was saying about the earthquake. Today tons of people do that or use tools like Twhirl and Tweetdeck to do those searches.

Lots of my friends think that this search behavior will let Microsoft get back into the search game if Microsoft bought Twitter. Heck, Todd Bishop just wrote that too. Unfortunately Steve Ballmer doesn’t understand Twitter (he isn’t on it and probably thinks that’s yet another stupid thing that Scoble uses) so he probably won’t see the value here. Ballmer has done a horrid job at getting Microsoft into the search game, so I’ll be shocked if he wakes up and buys Twitter. Of course just by saying that I probably made Ev and Biz a few hundred million dollars more — if Microsoft and Google get into a bidding war valuations on Twitter could go up to a billion or more. Pretty rich territory for a service that has only 10 million users in the United States.

The third shift? It actually is coming on Monday as friendfeed brings out a completely new UI. I saw it last night and I’m still stunned (mostly in a good way, but change is always exhausting). I’m not sure I’ll like it all, but you’ll definitely want to watch the video I shot of the press conference and I will have a LOT more to say on this on Monday morning. I’m under embargo until Monday, but the video is long and they go into tons of details about the new UI and their business.

What a week in social networking/microblogging. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

26 thoughts on “Big shifts in microblog/social networking world

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  2. the problem is that twitter is a media darling right now – it’s like the superman cape – nothing from poor support, crappy processes, etc can pierce the cape
    Forgot to add excellent post. Looking forward to reading the next one!

  3. the problem is that twitter is a media darling right now – it’s like the superman cape – nothing from poor support, crappy processes, etc can pierce the cape
    Forgot to add excellent post. Looking forward to reading the next one!

  4. Good stuff. Personally, I don’t think Facebook needs to go public, and shouldn’t, if it wants to remain innovative.

    As for Twitter, it’s like MySpace all over again, a service where you gather and chat with people you don’t know. Yes, it’s more than that, I suppose, but I think the novelty will wear off. Whereas Facebook’s friend updates, well, I love those, and see them as being my Twitter of the future (I want to interact with people I know!).

    Last, where is the sober discussion about Ballmer? Why is he not under pressure to step down? He’s missed so many trends, all in a futile attempt to maintain Microsoft’s client/server universe. Honestly, it’s too bad MSFT is a public company; if they were private they could take the kinds of chances they need to take. As a public entity, though, they will milk the current client/server model until the bitter end. No loss for the world, though. I mean, save for some cool games, name one, interesting MSFT product or service from the past five years? Hell, 10.

    Jeff

  5. Good stuff. Personally, I don’t think Facebook needs to go public, and shouldn’t, if it wants to remain innovative.

    As for Twitter, it’s like MySpace all over again, a service where you gather and chat with people you don’t know. Yes, it’s more than that, I suppose, but I think the novelty will wear off. Whereas Facebook’s friend updates, well, I love those, and see them as being my Twitter of the future (I want to interact with people I know!).

    Last, where is the sober discussion about Ballmer? Why is he not under pressure to step down? He’s missed so many trends, all in a futile attempt to maintain Microsoft’s client/server universe. Honestly, it’s too bad MSFT is a public company; if they were private they could take the kinds of chances they need to take. As a public entity, though, they will milk the current client/server model until the bitter end. No loss for the world, though. I mean, save for some cool games, name one, interesting MSFT product or service from the past five years? Hell, 10.

    Jeff

  6. I regard Twitter as the most popular simple-to-use real-time follower-based messaging service. In that respect, it would certainly complement Google’s current services.

    Friendfeed however is more interesting in my opinion, because of, well, you know the advantages. That’s why I really look forward to your video about FriendFeed’s new UI.

  7. I regard Twitter as the most popular simple-to-use real-time follower-based messaging service. In that respect, it would certainly complement Google’s current services.

    Friendfeed however is more interesting in my opinion, because of, well, you know the advantages. That’s why I really look forward to your video about FriendFeed’s new UI.

  8. the problem is that twitter is a media darling right now – it’s like the superman cape – nothing from poor support, crappy processes, etc can pierce the cape

  9. the problem is that twitter is a media darling right now – it’s like the superman cape – nothing from poor support, crappy processes, etc can pierce the cape

  10. Definitely have to agree with you on the horrid state of management and support. I’ve had a support request in their system for weeks now and no action has been taken on it at all, even twittering support staff gets me nothing. Makes me wonder, if they’re not doing system (or fixing the site) what are they doing with all that money they get?

  11. Definitely have to agree with you on the horrid state of management and support. I’ve had a support request in their system for weeks now and no action has been taken on it at all, even twittering support staff gets me nothing. Makes me wonder, if they’re not doing system (or fixing the site) what are they doing with all that money they get?

  12. Facebook could, and should, “kill” Friendfeed by becoming the largest OpenID “provider” and offering its users the option of domain mapping (i.e. masking) with a domain the user already owns. It could also offer to register a custom/private domain for users who don’t yet have their own domain (think Google Apps).

    With Domain Mapping users could choose to map their Facebook page to either the top-level domain (www.scobleizer.com).

    For users who choose to map their Facebook page to their top level domain, the Facebook page then becomes their de facto webpage. Facebook would be smart to extend their developer community to include themes for users who map their FB pages to their top-level domain.

    For more technical users who want to maintain their own web page on their top level domain, FB could offer to domain map to sub-domains (http://facebook.scobleizer.com).

    Additionally, Facebook could offer users the ability to create mapped sub-domains to thousands of other web services (e.g. http://flickr.scobleizer.com, http://youtube.scobleizer.com) and in the process make Friendfeed redundant.

    WordPress.com, Google Apps, and Squarespace.com are just a couple of the companies who have offered their users domain mapping.

    At the end of the day, users need to control the domain where the majority of their web presence “lives.” Domain mapping is the next frontier in the social network feature war.

  13. Facebook could, and should, “kill” Friendfeed by becoming the largest OpenID “provider” and offering its users the option of domain mapping (i.e. masking) with a domain the user already owns. It could also offer to register a custom/private domain for users who don’t yet have their own domain (think Google Apps).

    With Domain Mapping users could choose to map their Facebook page to either the top-level domain (www.scobleizer.com).

    For users who choose to map their Facebook page to their top level domain, the Facebook page then becomes their de facto webpage. Facebook would be smart to extend their developer community to include themes for users who map their FB pages to their top-level domain.

    For more technical users who want to maintain their own web page on their top level domain, FB could offer to domain map to sub-domains (http://facebook.scobleizer.com).

    Additionally, Facebook could offer users the ability to create mapped sub-domains to thousands of other web services (e.g. http://flickr.scobleizer.com, http://youtube.scobleizer.com) and in the process make Friendfeed redundant.

    WordPress.com, Google Apps, and Squarespace.com are just a couple of the companies who have offered their users domain mapping.

    At the end of the day, users need to control the domain where the majority of their web presence “lives.” Domain mapping is the next frontier in the social network feature war.

  14. Robert – don’t forget that twitter has no user support – even their lead investor Fred Wilson basically said so when he told me to try to get the “community” to help with my issue. Twitter has realized that all they need to do is keep the bloggers who fluff them happy and pimp the crap out of their celebs – this is why I wrote the other day about early adopters – etc.

  15. Robert – don’t forget that twitter has no user support – even their lead investor Fred Wilson basically said so when he told me to try to get the “community” to help with my issue. Twitter has realized that all they need to do is keep the bloggers who fluff them happy and pimp the crap out of their celebs – this is why I wrote the other day about early adopters – etc.

  16. What are you doing up? That’s the firt question. Second question: — bigger. Won’t Google let Twitter die if they acquire it, like they’ve done with many other products? Usually the keep something for about a year without taking in new users while they integrate it, and then they re-launch it. While I guess that was okay with Writely (aka Google docs) and Grand Central, it killed off some of their other more social acquisitions. Social acquisitions can’t stand still.

  17. What are you doing up? That’s the firt question. Second question: — bigger. Won’t Google let Twitter die if they acquire it, like they’ve done with many other products? Usually the keep something for about a year without taking in new users while they integrate it, and then they re-launch it. While I guess that was okay with Writely (aka Google docs) and Grand Central, it killed off some of their other more social acquisitions. Social acquisitions can’t stand still.

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