Keeping in trend with our focus on the unofficial “Social Media Month”, we’ve got news of another couple steps in the evolution of social media that happened recently. Yesterday, Facebook announced users could now take and share short videos by way ofInstagram, the photo-sharing app recently purchased by Facebook. This feature is obviously built to directly compete with Twitter’s immensely popular “short-film” video application, Vine.
This isn’t the first time this month Facebook has bit Twitter’s business model; last week they finally introduced #hashtags as a usable feature. While you can only click and search other users posting the same hashtags, Facebook plans to implement a “trending topics” hashtags feature very soon. There’s no doubt that the quick-shot video model of Vine and other apps like Snapchat have skyrocketed recent social media usage, and brought new users to their brother and sister platforms; but the use of hashtags has always been a way for people to connect, laugh, and share. Twitter has used it since it’s inception, and Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram have followed suit at their launches. What’s taken Facebook so long?
In the ongoing battle for the social networking space, they share plenty of similarities. Facebook and Twitter have relied on two significantly different marketing strategies. Facebook hordes immeasurable amounts of data, which advertisers use to target potential and existing customers based on content those users shared on the site, and sites they visit after leaving the social network. Meanwhile, Twitter excels at giving marketers a space to communicate and participate in real-time with its audience. Hashtags offer a benefit to Facebook’s existing ad space model by encouraging users to share more information publicly via hashtags, allowing businesses to hone in on new customers.
Clearly, Facebook wants more of the action that Twitter is offering. Could this be a sign of Facebook faltering and playing catch-up, or just evolving at an appropriate rate? Since, regarding revenue, they’ve got nothing to worry about, we’re not sure yet. Though the strike-while-the-iron-is-hot business strategy of Twitter still pales in comparison to Facebook’s advertisement bombardment campaign, that situation could always change, and change starts small. Facebook could be a victim of natural selection if not willing to evolve at a faster pace.
As the Internet becomes a more customizable realm for its users, those users are finding new ways to limit the information they actually want to intake and process. We’ll have to wait and see how Facebook users embrace these new features, and if they are as intuitive and smooth as its competition. Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon; but if looking into the past evolutions of social media tells us anything…nothing lasts forever.
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