However as competition began to heat up among social networks, the most popular network, Facebook, seems to have started blurring boundaries that separate it from other networks in order to negate the need for their users to visit those networks.
Last year September, they introduced “Facebook Subscribe” feature that enables users to get updates from influencers just like Twitter’s “Follow”. In technical terms, Facebook used to be a symmetrical network, while Twitter is an asymmetrical network. That means on Facebook, one person needed to “add friend” and the other had to “Confirm” before they could receive each other’s update.
With the introduction of Facebook subscribe, the network now has an element of asymmetry. Users can now “subscribe” to an influencer and get the updates of the person without having to add the person as friend.
Reasons Facebook Subscribe Should Not Be a Problem to Twitter
Twitter has been tested and tried to be a real-time portal for distributing news. Its 140 words limit makes this process very efficient. The revolution in Egypt and earthquake in Japan benefitted immensely from this Twitter feature.
Also as a Twitter user, I have learned to write the most catchy information in less than 140 characters and add a link for others to visit. This is one huge advantage of Twitter over Facebook.
Secondly, Twitter is more or less a place where people go to get information and not chat with friends like Facebook. Also, Twitter’s “Trending Stories” help users to quickly find information on emergencies and breaking news even if they do not have any friend on the network.
Lastly, influencers can publish tweets or share industry-relevant posts to followers on Twitter without blasting their friends with irrelevant information.
These features are a big distinction between Twitter and other social networks.
How “Facebook Subscribe” is becoming a Problem to Twitter
Surprisingly, Facebook released a recent update that shows a rising adoption of Facebook Subscribe among its users. When a sample of 25 journalists across several outlets was analyzed, Facebook came up with an interesting report:
Thousands of journalists now use the Subscribe feature. Also, more than 50 journalists from The New York Times and over 90 from Washington Post now use the feature, and an average journalist has noticed a 320% increase in the number of subscribers from November 2011 till date. That means Journalists who are more comfortable using Facebook than Twitter now have less need to use both services.
Moreover, Facebook has been using subtle inducements to make people use Facebook Subscribe feature. The giant network even offers their users suggestion of “People to Subscribe to”. They also have resources like “Getting Started: Facebook for Journalists”, “Optimizing Your Profile for Subscribe” and “How to Best Use Subscribe as a Journalist” to help journalists.
The struggle to grab a huge share of the social networking community is pretty much heated up at the moment. Twitter may have to fight back whichever way they can, perhaps by using incentives or going on radical campaign for better use of their platform.
A Little Question
Are you actually using Facebook Subscribe to connect with influencers? Has “Facebook Subscribe” feature changed your affection for Twitter in any way or negated your use of Twitter?