It's a good thing Facebook's not buying Twitter

The match looks good on the surface, but deep down it's a mess.

Twitter and Facebook seem like a nice match, don't they. It was no surprise that rumors started about a Facebook acquisition of Twitter. It was hardly a shocker when the rumors turned out to be true.

But it's good that the talks fell apart . (Story source: Kara Swisher: When Twitter met Facebook.)

From the outside, it looks like Facebook and Twitter could be happy social stablemates. Facebook has its own Twitter-like function, but it's not the core of the service. Twitter gets its users talking, but doesn't have the robust social features of Facebook. Melding Twitter into Facebook would give the larger company, Facebook, access to one of the most interesting and vibrant new social mediums, and it likely wouldn't put out the Twitter users too much.

But when it comes to business philosophies, the companies do not mesh. And I'm not just talking about the well-reported SMS expense that Facebook would take on if it integrated Twitter. More than that, Twitter's stated revenue plans don't work for Facebook.

While Twitter has yet to launch any monetization experiments, the plan, according to Twitter's Evan Williams, is to find a way to charge corporate users for business services.

This adds up to a double mismatch for Facebook. First, Facebook is not pitched as corporate or business communications service. It could become that, I would argue, and could compete with LinkedIn, or even acquire it. That's a bigger opportunity, revenue-wise, than a Twitter acquisition, and would take up resources that might otherwise be used to incorporate Twitter into the fold.

Second, Facebook knows how to experiment with revenue models. Twitter does not. Facebook sells electronic micro-gifts and has tried different forms of advertising. Twitter: Nothing, not even an online store for plush toy Fail Whales. Facebook should demand more from a company it plans to sink $100 million of cash in to than a clever product that's never been put to the test of generating a dime. Twitter may be hot, but it is, so far, not a business. Facebook is a business.

However, it would be good for Facebook to take Twitter off the market so another company--Google, perhaps, or a wireless carrier--doesn't snap it up. But even given that, I believe Facebook has better opportunities ahead of it than what Twitter offers.

See also:
11 Twitter business models: Vote for the best ,
Mashable: Since Twitter Won't Sell, Who Should Facebook Buy?
CNET News Daily Debrief: Twitter this--why do a Facebook deal?

 

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