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TechCrunch's been airing Twitter's (not so) dirty laundry all week. Courtesy of a hacker, TechCrunch has gotten hold of 300 confidential Twitter documents, and yesterday they released notes from a set of executive meetings that laid out the company's upcoming strategy plans.

What did we learn? That Twitter is scared of Facebook. As it should be.

This isn't very surprising, but it is interesting that Twitter has spent time strategizing about how to fend off the social network. The microblogging company resisted Facebook's efforts to purchase it last year, and now we've learned that Twitter execs think the “Facebook sell always seemed wrong” and it would have been "a disappointing outcome."

In a note titled "How Could Facebook Kill Us," Twitterers laid out ways that Facebook could bury the microblogging service. And the social network has already checked off a good number of the items, including:

  • Opt-in to make status public
  • Twitter functionality
  • FB Login

Facebook is clearly honing in on Twitter's territory with its new public status options. And if its users start updating Facebook instead of Twitter with their microthoughts, it could severely hobble Twitter's marketshare.

But Twitter has some defenses built up to fend them off. Namely, they want to be a cult. Well, that's the second item on the list. First, they want to “make sure people are happy.” And while that may seem a little warm and fuzzy for a business strategy, it makes some sense.

There's nothing particularly proprietary about Twitter's concept. Microblogging could easily be usurped by a newcomer into the space. Or more likely — by an established brand that subsumes a Twitter feature into its online strategy.

By keeping customers happy and continuing to connect the concept of microblogging to the Twitter brand, Twitter can keep its dominance of the space.

Right now, they're also benefitting from Facebook's diverse business goals. Users on Facebook don't go to the site expressly looking to share their thoughts. 

The problem is that people can also use both services for the same purpose, or link their entries to both.

If someone (say, Google) comes along and aggregates all of the social media functions into one bucket, that could take both brands out of the microblogging equation almost entirely.

Two of the slides follow here. More at TechCrunch.

Top Image: VatorNews

Meghan Keane

Published 17 July, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Ambarish Mitra

Its difficult to directly compare facebook and twitter from a consumer interaction perspective. Facebook's product offering is far more diverse than twitter involving some status microblogging, pic sharing, video sharing. What twitter brings on the table is focused on microblogging and simplicity. What twitter does is very easy to replicate by any brand. But network effects has kicked in and its created a niche for itself. It'll be tough for a new player to break into the microblogging sphere and take away twitter's share unless they offer something new / upgrade.

It'll be interesting to see facebook and twitter battle it out, but i can see both of them co-exist.

over 7 years ago


Twitter Directory 2000

Twitter fears Facebook, but now that Twitter has received all this hack publicity, Facebook fears Twitter.

over 7 years ago


affiliate marketing business

I think its true. Facebook has it all, its onpage realtime comments and wall posting beats twitter as it have to use some kind of software to manage updates.

over 7 years ago


Michelle Porter

Ahhh... healthy competition.  Always good for the consumer.

over 7 years ago


Internet Marketing Tactics

There is one big aspect that Twitter forgot to mention:

Another way that Facebook could kill twitter is by dropping their stupid cap of 5k friends. Twitter lets celebrities and other high-profile individuals have as many followers and they can collect... and that's big for their egos.

If Facebook were to suddenly drop that policy and let anyone build a massive following... and not just in groups or pages, but in their own personal profile, it would gain massive exposure and marketshare.

Why? Simply because in the mind of regular folk, it's not the same to be a "fan" than a "friend". Twitter has that 'personal engagement' element down and that's why people love them so much.

Just my 2 cents.

over 7 years ago


Chaa Marketing

hmmm. interesting! lets see what will happen.

over 7 years ago



I may be shot down here (and im sure many millions across the world see this differently than I) however, what is the Twitter appeal over Facebook?

Facebook offers all of Twitters functionality (almost), and more!

My personal view is that Twitter needs to develop, extend and move forward with something totally new and different to anything yet on offer to be able to hold a future against Facebook.

over 7 years ago

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