Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is Twitter Becoming Facebook?

On Tuesday, Twitter rolled out a new interface that incorporates more multimedia and a few new features that are similar to what you'd find in Facebook.

The new features include embedded photos, videos and many dashboard functions, all available without the use of separate utilities like Tweetdeck or Hoostsuite. What's more, Twitter has partnered with Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi (formerly TweetPhoto), Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube to put content from the people you follow right into the middle of your tweet timeline.

Some users will see the new interface right away, but Twitter suggests that it will slowly roll out across its entire user base over the next two weeks.

So why is this update important? First of all, what Twitter is trying to do is pull users back from using 3rd party utilities so they spend more time within the app itself in order to give more viewer impressions to its advertisers. This would improve their revenue stream, which they really need. The second thing they're trying to do is pull people away from Facebook by giving the app a feel closer to what Facebook provides. Facebook is vulnerable right now because of the way they've handled privacy issues, and it wouldn't take too much of a push to make some of their disgruntled users change their allegiance.

There's some speculation that some new features will be available from a Twitter "Pro" subscription account, which would be another income stream for the company. While most casual users might not be tempted to sign up for a pro subscription, any company, artist, band or brand may be open to paying a monthly fee if it helps them communicate with their followers better, if it does come to pass.

The new features are just a few more reasons why a Twitter account is nearly a necessity for an artist or band. Used well, Twitter can be an extremely valuable social media tool for keeping in touch with your tribe in this Music 3.0 world.

Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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