If you follow the news or The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, or well if you don’t live under a rock you’ve probably at least heard of Twitter. You may not understand what Twitter is or what its purpose is, but that’s because it has no purpose; no single purpose anyways. At the same time it’s potentially useful in probably any and every way you make it.
You can use it as a direct messaging service, a la AIM. You can use it as a search engine foregoing your regular Google search. It’s a way to connect with friends, rendering Facebook sometimes unnecessary.
Its such a simple service which allows its uses to be limited really by what you and others put on it.
Which makes me ask the question, who should be more worried about Twitter, Facebook or Google?
Facebook recently made some updates to their website in large part to head off the migration of people towards Twitter: clearly they’re worried.
Google’s CEO recently dismissed Twitter as “a poor man’s e-mail system” so perhaps he’s not worried but maybe he should be. I’ve been searching for mom bloggers and guess where I’ve been searching? Twitter, not Google. Peter Shankman of HARO today wanted book suggestions, he didn’t search Google, he went to Twitter. Todd Defren simply asked, “Doh. Need that link re: Social Media outstrips Email. Help me out?” and with a few moments got his answer.
Google’s revenue is dependent in large part on paid search revenue. Less searches would seem to indicate less clicks and thus less revenue.
So again who should be worried more?
Comparatively speaking I’d say Google. With so many websites and search results out there an algorithm may be lacking. The Marketing Ninja just wrote today about how Google may end up being dominated by blackhole sites. Put quite simply if people can get better results on Twitter then through a search on Google: Google should be worried.
However, the real answer is niether needs to be particularly worried… yet. Twitter is a long way from replacing either. Part of its use requires a large following; I would not have nearly the same luck as people with large following. Further, in addition to their search engine Google has contextual ads, gmail, google maps, etc. Facebook has more then just a status update they have a ton of apps, videos pictures etc all aggregated in one place. As opposed to having to go to youtube or twitpic, etc.
So while I don’t see an immediate threat, Google and Facebook better not rest on their laurels. The rate of change today is MUCH shorter then it was in the past, so they cannot afford to let that patter of feet in the distance become an 800 lb Gorilla behind their backs.