Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rumour: Twitter business pages

Both Twitter and Facebook operate on the fiercely contested battlefield of the social web. But they do so using vastly different tactics. Where Twitter is simple and short, Facebook is complicated and elaborate.

Another difference between the two is their commercial views. Facebook made its commercial intent very clear almost from the start. Advertisements, micro-transactions in games, business pages where a corporation can describe its business, all geared towards creating a flow of money with the ultimate goal of making Facebook a profitable company. Twitter however only presented a business plan in 2010 while the service had started in 2006. In the early years there was hardly a sign that Twitter had a commercial heart. That is now changing.

In October last year, Twitter CEO Evan Williams resigned and handed the helm to Dick Costollo, the man behind the business plan and the "promoted tweets, trends and accounts". A clear indication that Twitter is changing course. And now there is a new rumour: Twitter may offer companies the possibility of corporate pages where they can profile themselves and garner interest for there products. These pages can then be used to generate followers.

Although this construction does not necessarily change Twitter's basic model of simplicity, it does worry me a little. The charm of Twitter is its simplicity and openness. This allows you to be creative and use it as you wish to use it. This is something which is a lot harder to do on closed, highly regulated systems like Facebook. Might this be the first step to be-Facebooking Twitter?

Of course Twitter Inc needs to think commercially. Just paying the monthly bandwidth bills must be a nightmare. But lets hope that this commercial thinking does not ruin the simple beauty that sets Twitter apart in a busy social network market.

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