Is Twitter's time at hand? Facebook has to hope it's just a fad

What if the momentum behind Twitter starts to go viral? A video post making the rounds poses the question.

Facebook today but Twitter tomorrow?

The geeks know Twitter but most folks don't, and that's one reason why Facebook was able to persuade Hong Kong rich guy Li Ka-shing to pay at least $100 million for a piece of the company.

As long as Facebook can make the case that it's the hippest of the new, new things out there in cyberland, fine. And for the time being, it's probably got little to worry about. The OpenSocial Foundation--my colleague Caroline McCarthy calls it "The Justice League of social media" --is still a concept waiting to materialize. There are a lot of cooks stirring that pot but it may very well one day become a big deal. Until then, however, it's just high-priced PR.

But there's an interesting discussion around a Twitter versus Facebook faceoff looming. In a video post making the rounds, Gary Vaynerchuk riffs about the quickness of Twitter becoming a factor--at least among the early adopter crowd.

"The instant gratification. The world is moving so quickly. That the fact that we can get that response so quickly. Look AOL Instant Messenger--still around and strong, right? So is Twitter taking a lot from Facebook?"

Provocative question. I think he's onto something. I've no interest in revisiting the entire Sarah Lacy-Mark Zuckerberg episode at South by Southwest earlier this month. Still, the Twitter conversations that broke out in parallel among audience attendees testifies to something real about the potential for the technology. Even among some of my friends, I've noticed an uptick of interest in Twitter. And these are civilians, people who associate a "byte" with lunch. If now they're getting into Twitter, it's time to pay attention. When Facebook's popularity turned viral last year, I saw something similar.

Is there real change in the air or is it a passing affectation? Even though Twitter is faster and more interactive, Facebook, at least for the moment, remains a more "sticky" hangout for users. That won't last if Facebook fails to provide more zip to its feeds. For all the elegance that went into the Facebook platform's design, I prefer something that's tailored to the frenetic mobile, interactive times we inhabit. And no, gobsmacking each other with zombie attacks does not qualify as interactivity.

In the end, the speed freaks will decide the issue. They're still up for grabs but for how much longer? Check out what Vaynerchuk has to say and post your opinion--or Twitter it to me at "Coopeydoop."

 

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