Facebook becomes Twitterfied to fight for media attention

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Twitter is the media darling.

From the Academy Awards to live sports events, from political analysis to your local news, tweets are everywhere. News breaks on Twitter.

Even though Facebook is the dominant social network by far with more than four times the members of Twitter, tweets dominate the news, at least until now.

Facebook quietly announced it is putting its members’ public comments in the mix with television broadcasts and other news outlets.

The social network said that CNN, The Today Show, and other news outlets will begin using Facebook user’s comments within their programming. Facebook will also be providing Twitter-like trending tropics and a demographic breakdown on the people discussing a topic.

Facebook’s move comes within days of Twitter’s announced intent to become a public company. Certainly Twitter’s status as traditional media’s “second screen” is a key consideration among potential investors. In a joint venture with Nielsen, for example, Twitter intends to create metrics to quantify social media amplication of TV advertising, a promising opportunity for monetizing Twitter’s huge database.

Another signal of the importance of television to Twitter’s future — a few weeks ago it introduced a new platform called Amplify, which allows Twitter to sell ads together with television and other media companies. With Amplify, networks post short, brand-sponsored video replays on Twitter in near-real time.

Can Facebook turn this trend? The Twitterfication of Facebook seems to be an ongoing effort. In June, Facebook embraced hashtag symbols to help surface certain keywords and topics.

I think Facebook’s obvious Twitterfication is interesting because it bucks traditional wisdom. Once a niche is dominated by an Internet property, it is very difficult to be unseated. Once we are settled on a platform, we are settled on a platform. For example, we don’t really want two LinkedIns or YouTubes. Today, the potentially lucrative TV conversations are taking place on Twitter.

What do you think? Can Facebook change that?

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  • Todd Lyden

    The TV space online is still be determined tho- doncha think?

  • Twitter is not so well-established in TV that it cannot be displaced. There is still plenty of room for Facebook.

  • Hard to say. I think Facebook could buy its way in and I think that’s what’s happening. Good to see you back in the comment section Todd.

  • Thanks for the comment Andy.

  • Todd Lyden

    I think the outside apps like getglue, viggle etc… are the easiest way in… right?

  • Facebook does not want to be known as the reason people didn’t get a job. It is trying to simultaneously compete with Twitter and LinkedIn by adding a professional option to compete with LinkedIn and creating special relationships with TV to compete with Twitter. It will be interesting to see if Facebook can create a culture shift and get users to see the platform differently on these two fronts. I think it will be more challenging to get people to think of Facebook as a LinkedIn alternative than a Twitter alternative. Both will be challenging but not impossible.

    aka DR4WARD

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  • Just wait until your set-top box (or internet TV) just tweets what you are watching (and storing for future viewing) and, when viewing stored content, it’ll also track which commercials you view and fast forward over. I’d expect this will be the next thing that comes of this. Facebook is not structured to handle these kind of deep insights. Twitter is well suited to deliver this kind of detail.

  • Leah Kinthaert

    It will make Facebook a lot easier to do business on, right now it’s difficult to search trending topics, etc. but for personal use, yes this is horrifying a lot of Facebook users. Will be interesting to see how it pans out.

  • IDK. I watch a good bit of TV Mark but seldom in real time, which is the big thing w/ Twitter (esp. big events, sports, etc). Then there’s the concern about posting too much noise, be it to your personal or professional followings which brings me to a hiccup here. The audiences for many of us are different; my F&F on FB rarely overlap on Twitter; and do we want to share professionally what we consume personally, lest everyone know our (my) terrible taste in entertainment?

    At times I’d be less inclined to share/discuss what I was watching w/ some followers and would they even care? I mean tweets about a game come and go in the blink of an eye, but wouldn’t that constant barrage of ‘go team, go’ status updates annoy friends on FB? Or you live tweet a TV show and your followers are like, ‘thanks for spoiling, jerk’ and all? I may like a few shows on FB, tweet the occasional cheer — but most of my social TV engagement is via my play Twitter handle. (And maybe that’s a mistake, maybe it’d be another better way to engage?)

    I think FB could be onto something, but the key to success is to tap into social behaviors we already have while staying true to FB. With a big caveat: privacy. If I post a comment on say Nashville’s page, which I think is visible only as an Activity on my page or to others who have liked that page, does that mean I give permission for FB to sell it to ABC and for ABC to broadcast it w/ my name? You used news examples, just throwing that out there as I try to picture the social, branding, advertising money making that’s in the works. FWIW.

  • Michele Price

    Interesting question. Here are my thoughts.

    I know my tweets might be used since it is common for TV shows etc… as a third screen activity. But Facebook has not been and I will engage less when my words are shared from there. WHY? Because that has not been part of our created culture on FB.

    So all they will get from me is less talking now. Does that fulfill their objective?

    Man, why can’t businesses enjoy and appreciate what they have built instead of trying to take from other platforms. It is almost like them telling me they do not see the value in the direction they have been driving. Really a toddler type behavior.

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  • Don’t know. They’re rather obscure. I have never seen a newscast quote a post on viggle.

  • It won’t work. In real life, we like choice in car brands, breakfast cereals and deodorant. But we only have the capacity for one Twitter, one LinkedIn, one Facebook. Facebook introduced their competitor to LinkedIn two years ago and predictably it bombed. I think once a niche has been filled it very difficult to unseat a competitor, IMHO. Agree?

  • My new Blu Ray dics player from Panasonic is already capable of that. Always makes me smile to see Reader Number One in the comment section my friend.

  • Agree Leah, although it will be limited by the fact that most data on FB is private, or it is supposed to be! : )

  • This is an extraordinary comment Davina with lots of interesting ideas. I’m with you on the over-tweeting about TV and pop culture but I think you and I are the exceptions. Something like 70% of Americans under 24 post while watching TV. So on this one, I just trust in the data rather than my own experience! I also think you are spot-on with the privacy. Really a two-edged sword for them isn’t it?

  • I think what we are seeing here is an outcome of a prediction I made last year before FB went public. They could become the most dangerous company on earth. Why? Now they are under pressure to increase their profits quarter after quarter without exception, without end. Their only tangible revenue-producing product is our information. They have no choice but to use information about us and the content we produce in increasingly aggressive ways in the coming years. This is a privacy time bomb.

  • Anna Dent

    Hi Mark. This is certainly food for thought. For me, Facebook and Twitter work well alongside one another because they fulfill two different social needs. Facebook keeps me in touch with my friends and family and Twitter keeps me in touch with the rest of the world; as long as this is the case I will have room for both. Most of what I post on Facebook isn’t worth capturing (it’s just noise), Twitter is where I chatterbox and rant about brands etc. I understand why Facebook want a piece of the big data pie, but they must protect their own defining features, otherwise, it’s all for naught.

  • I agree. Seemingly they are in different niches but they are fighting for the same advertising dollars, and more important, dominance as the “second screen” which could be highly lucrative. I would watch for more announcements in this space! Thanks Anna.

  • Well, Facebook definitely has a bigger base to try that approach. However, “first to market” is huge…and Twitter is definitely the recognized standard for near real-time reactions and reporting of current events.

    Of course, those TV networks could just get a monitoring tool that would capture mentions of topics/keywords across multiple social platforms (which would also include Instagram, Google+, etc). Doesn’t cure Facebook’s ills, but it does make “user generated reporting and reactions” readily available to the networks. And sentiment analysis of that near real-time reporting/reactions can’t be far behind, right?

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  • malcomms

    FB and twitter have 2 different functions for me, Mark. While I use both for business, it is FB that I turn to to be with my friends. In fact, sometimes I struggle to keep business to my shop page. Twitter however is a free for all in which I find little comfort.

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