Unless you live under a rock (AKA not on twitter) or a 65+ grandparent who lives by the beach while spending any possible inheritance they might have on chotskies made of seashells, you’ve heard the announcement about Facebook introducing “@replies” to their site in the next several weeks. This has caused panic. No, I’m not kidding. No, I’m not making it up. Mashable’s article on it over had 3,000s tweets on the subject and twitter power users are calling Facebook a “copycat”, “cluttered”, and the “great blue devil” ( I quite like the last one).
Taking all this into account i really think everybody just needs to calm down. Literally I feel like today might have been the Twitter communities “Chicken Little” moment. OMG Twitter is crashing. Our whole universe is fading away. We’re all going to die!!! Really people, you just got hit in the eye with a pebble and freaked out over nothing.
And why am I so sure I am right on this? Well we’re in business, we all love executive summaries. I’ll give you three reasons:
1. Twitter didn’t invent @replies. Really credit for this came from forums users and bloggers, who carried it over with them when they started using twitter. That means facebook isn’t copying twitter. It’s copying some guy who thought he’d be nerd chic and pull out some awesome by slapping down an @ sign on a blog to call someone out. Who he is? I don’t know. That’s why they invented google.
2. Just because something has a cup holder doesn’t make it a car. Facebook adding @replies does not automatically make it a twitter substitute. It’s adding one feature guys. And yeah you can reply to peoples wall comment on FB now, but you can also do that on all sort of other sites…So who cares? If facebook were to strip down and focus solely on status updates, limit the number of characters, and make it possible to have one way relations (IE follow/follower paradox) then maybe I’d be a bit worried. Right now. I just don’t see where the fear is coming from.
3. @replies are going to make Facebook an even bigger Hot Mess. Here’s a point we probably can agree on: facebook is a hunka hunka burning mess. There’s an excessive amount of crap and it’s like an information overload just visiting the site. Facebook’s that girl in seventh grade who let make-up explode all over her face before coming to school. Key insight she never learned–> less is more kids.
At the end of the day, I think this is a really good thing. Facebook adding @replies is creating a consistent form of communication. The social world is beginning to create some standard etiquette across sites. You should be excited, the internet is growing up.