Which will DIE first Facebook or Twitter?

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I saw a video from @chrispirillo on Youtube where a viewer asked Chris whether Facebook or Twitter will die first? His respond to that question was that Facebook will die first. The reason to that was

1)    Complexity

In Chris’s opinion, he feels that Twitter is much simpler compared to Facebook.  Twitter, in his opinion, is simpler with 140 characters and Twitter keeps it simple for reasons such as simplicity is sometimes more successful. Therefore it will last longer than Facebook.

2)    Rules

Chris also mentioned that Facebook is larger and more people have Facebook compared to Twitter. That means Facebook has complex rules (perhaps one would be that Facebook is asking for your number and address .. yes WTF)  So in Chris’s opinion, the one that might possibly fall first is Facebook due to backlash  etc.

Of course it’s hard to really guess which will die first, but if were to pick one I might pick Twitter despite my devotion and love to it. (Remind me to send a valentines card to Twitter : P)

Why do I say Facebook will still rule?

1)    Community

We all want to be part of a community. I personally feel that the ability to build a much closer community on Facebook is better compared to Twitter. The huge downfall on Twitter might be its simplicity. Because, when more people join and follow others, the stream will be too cluttered and news will be harder to get out. I feel that twitter needs to do something to address this problem soon. Facebook knew of this problem so they recently added a feature to view recent feeds based on wall post, photos, fan pages etc.

Moreover when we like a page on Facebook, we’re a part of a community whether we choose to participate or not.

2)    More People

Facebook has more people using it, roughly 600 million users are on Facebook compared to Twitter which has an estimate of 200 million users. This means that even if Facebook were to lose 50% of their people, there will still be 300 million users. Still more compared to twitter.

3)    Closer relationship

I use Facebook to connect with my friends. Facebook allows me to view their photos, and get a more personal update compared to Twitter. I try to add as many people as I can on my Facebook, and if you want to add me, feel free to do so. How often can we view hundreds of our friends’ photos on Twitter?  (not that I view all of them :P)

4)    Simplicity doesn’t always rule… innovation does

I don’t feel that simplicity will rule or is the core to all success. Of course not in technology, in the technology industry, there is a need to constantly upgrade or to add new features that people will want. Look at Myspace or Friendster. They have failed to understand this and Facebook overtook them and nearly killed them (they are people still using it). Facebook is constantly adding more features because they understand it.

5)    People don’t get Twitter

One of the most frequent question I get from people on twitter or from friends is “I don’t know what to do on Twitter” A lot people seem to have this problem. The reason so is because some don’t really feel there is a need to connect or to network with new people or different people, so they prefer Facebook because that is where their friends are.

6)    Variety of things to do on Facebook

There are so many things we can do on Facebook such as

  • Games
  • Quizzes
  • Connect with friends

Some of the things which might annoy us are actually FUN for others. Don’t you just hate to get an invite from Farmville? I know I do! But some takes Farmville very seriously.

Of course I still prefer twitter over Facebook, but if I were to pick one that might survive, then most probably Facebook will be the champion. Biggest reason is the amount of people using it.

What are your thoughts guys? Who will reign supreme over the other? Facebook or Twitter?

photo credits by Nannan Z.

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  • http://xcapedcat.com Barryck R

    I do agree with you on this one Aaron and I pray for both of us : May twitter god forgive us for we sinned.

  • http://www.ctkingston.com Christina Kingston

    I think Facebook will be the winner of the death pool. It for sure has legs. You know that term, “has legs”…means it’s long lasting. Why does it mean that? I better get on Twitter and ask. haha. Cool post Mr. Lee… Even if a new site comes along that truly rivals FB it’ll take years to build it up enough for people to migrate over. My goodness… BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL MYSPACE. That’s what I chant in my dreams.

  • http://justicewordlaw.com Justice Wordlaw IV

    Hey, I really do feel that Facebook will fail first . But, I am on both parts of the path as I see a lot more entrepreneurs and companies liking Facebook more. While the younger generations enjoy Twitter more so both will have there decrease in users it just depends upon the specific niche of people that are using those social platforms. I mean when I was watching the Video Music Awards and Taylor Swift and Kanye West became trending topics on Twitter within .3 seconds made me truly realize how powerful that platform truly is.

    But, compared to Facebook I see that now centering more entrepreneurs and companies and trying to steal most of the LinkedIn users.

  • http://twitter.com/renegadestyle john davies

    I suppose the best way to put this is that I am about to mention you in a tweet and note, I believe both will exist and flourish but Twitter allows me instant connectivity to my readers around the world. That ability alone is priceless in media and while it will take time to emerge as way to build relationships and interact with people, it is an extraordinary frontier where borders are removed.

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  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    Even tho I agree with Perillo, I say that whichever fails first, it probably will have nothing to do with rational and pretty explanations we’re able to come up with today.

  • http://twitter.com/web_licht Leon Widrich

    I agree with Dino’s Black Swan approach. The killer one of your reasons though is certainly number 3, which goes nicely with @markschaefers “facebook is a lifestyle not a website” view. It’s much stickier. Because twitter is so fast-paced it’s much easier to leave too. However, I love twitter more still! :)
    Great post, let me Buffer that Aaron.

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    I LOVE that you got that. Nic Taleb is one of my favorite authors. (his new stuff, not the old financial crap)…nice catch Leon..Im so happy I have smart people on my back :-)

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Hi Leon, I would agree that its much stickier. I spend equal amount of time on both, but more connection comes from twitter. So I try to add them on facebook. Have connection on both sides.

    We all love twitter don’t we?

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Indeed, if we can come up with a rational explanation, i am pretty sure we can create the next facebook or twitter LoL. On a serious note, i am still sticking with facebook lasting longer 😛

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    LoL! be sure you pray hard

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Indeed, i would agree that even so a new sites comes a long, it will take a while for them to migrate everyone to their new sites. People won’t just migrate because its new, people migrate because their friends are on it. Peer pressure.

    Thanks for coming here

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Indeed Justice,

    Earlier when there was a tweet on the the CEO of google stepping down, it became the top 10 trends on twitter lol.. 2 of of 10 was a tweet about it. Most of my friends spend more time on facebook though, they don’t really feel the need to be on twitter at all.

    They don’t see the power of it yet though, i think more teens are on facebook too

  • http://twitter.com/Faryna Stan Faryna

    Apples and Oranges. And I like them both. The Apples and the Oranges.

    Twitter is a cool little box. As long as there are no challengers with a better mousetrap (and investors don’t lose faith), they can own that niche.

    Facebook is a s…ocial platform that can be extended endlessly through crowd gathering apps like Facebook Games. The most obvious risk is that they could easily become insolvent in their bid to be everything to everyone.

    If given the choice to only buy stock in one or the other, I’d bet on Facebook, the value potential is greater for all the reasons Aaron notes in is blog post (and a few more reasons too).

    Of course, most people want us to pick a winner so they can focus on one. Twitter and Facebook represent two very different kinds of social channels – although they can be used interchangeably on occasion. If you have something relevant to say, say it on Twitter. If you want to build relationships, build them through Facebook. That’s not saying you can’t do one or the other on either Twitter or Facebook, but you can do one or the other BETTER on either Twitter or Facebook.

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasMarzano Thomas Marzano

    Great post Aaron, as always!

    but… (pardon my ramblings after this line)

    Aren’t we comparing apples to pears here? I mean, Facebook is so different in every way than Twitter that it is almost unfair to make a reasonable comparison. In my opinion the only thing they have in common is the fact that both are channels to communicate, connect with people and spread/ find information.

    I think it is not a matter of which of these two will die first, but more which will be the 3rd killer service that will overtake them both. And bring best of both worlds together.

    Also I dont really agree with the statement about technology innovation being the key driver. I think people are the key driver. And what it is they like to do… that is the driver to innovation. But a successful innovation will not fly without it being convenient to use (simplicity).

    For example: When the MP3 format, an audio encoding technology to compress music to unheard of small file sizes, another new tech was introduced called Super Audio. Super Audio was HiFi sound with amazing sound quality, never heard before. better than CD!!

    Now does anybody remember SuperAudio?? :)

    SuperAudio = Very high sound quality, better than CD but still large file size
    MP3 = Low sound quality (compared to CD) but small file size

    Obviously we all know MP3 overtook the world in a matter of months. Why? Convenience. You where now able to put your entire music collection on 1 MP3 player!! No more CD’s in the car. You could share files digitally!!!

    Convenience won! Over a superior sound innovation of SuperAudio.

    Another thing about Simplicity is, is that it is a subjective notion. What I think is simple, might not be simple to you.

    Like driving a car. Once you have driven a car for many years in becomes second nature. You can multitask even while driving!!! But when you get behind the stearing wheel for the first time in your life it is pretty complex!! You have to first know how to operate the car, once you have nailed that you need to get a grip on handling the traffic. Learn traffic signs and know the law.

    But if you ask me if driving a car is simple, I would say YES!

    So simplicity highly depends who you ask. Another factor influencing simplicity is context of use.
    Think of a Swiss army knife, with all its “features” you could say it is complicated. And if you where using it to cut some bread in your kitchen at home it would be the most complicated tool you could choose to use. (and you would look pretty stupid too :)) It would make much more sense to open the drawer an take a bread knife, right? Simple!
    But when you are out camping, bringing all your kitchen knives with you would also be pretty stupid, and the Swiss army knife is the perfect and simple solution for that context.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is..
    A) Both Facebook and Twitter are simple, once you know how to use them and you use them the way that they make sense to you.
    B) They are 2 different platforms with different superb qualities, both equally valuable depending who you are and what you want to do with them.
    C) The compliment each other, so it is useless to compare them.

    What we should ask ourselves… are we smart enough to understand and predict which killer app will blow both of them away?

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Good day Thomas,

    Glad to have you here and comment, looks like I’ve triggered a conversation here. I would agree with you. It’s always a apple and orange thing here. Thanks for the AMAZING metaphor and examples. I think driving is simple too especially its automatic haha! i can text while driving (which is something i need to stop doing)

    1) I agreed that both facebook and twitter are simple. I don’t think its complicated as Chris Pirilo mentioned. Its just which he thought was more complex compared in functions

    2) Both has different superb qualities and I would agree it depends on how we use them, that is why I said people don’t get twitter and they don’t feel the need to connect which is clearly one reason why they don’t like twitter compared to those who gets it. Another main reason why they prefer to go on facebook. Perhaps why more people prefer to use facebook compared to twitter.

    3) Agreed as well that they compliment each other. Its like making a wonderful meal with both of them. That is why I still use both of them seriously.

    I would agree with the example between the super audio and mp3, but if you look at it. Main reason why facebook is so successful is because its actually “stealing” key features from other social networking sites like twitter. Before this they didn’t have a stream at all. It was like myspace. They included games too which got more people to spend more time on facebook. There are many ways we can compare innovation like how apple is selling selling tech that no one would thought, maybe not us but for you then you would LoL.. Just like the LCD window screen which you showed us.

    Indeed we’re still waiting for one that can blow both of them away, but to try to migrate 600 million users away from facebook and 200 from twitter, that would be tough but that app will surely be amazing :)


  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Hi Stan,

    Indeed this is a apple and orange situation just like all situations like comparing Nikon and Canon camera, some prefer Nikon, some just prefer Canon. Both still take great photos.

    I would bet on facebook too seeing that they are planning to go public, imagine what they can do with the company compared to twitter? Twitter is still small and they don’t have a good solid monetization method yet.

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee


    Here is another example. Kodak.

    Kodak was the leading brand for camera in the pass. They thought that the film camera would last them for a while until Sony smack them in the ass and came out with a digital camera.

    Zippo was smart, they diversified (like facebook diversity into different features and not just one)

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasMarzano Thomas Marzano

    Indeed another great example!! but think about it… was it the tech that made the difference? or was it the convenience (simplicity) that the tech brought?

    expensive developing film, no way to share it beyond yr physical form etc. Digital is cheap, no hassle etc.,..


    People want what makes sense and is convenient to them… and makes their lives easier :)

    So adding features for the sake of features will never fly!… it should always make sense to people…

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    I would agree that “convenience” is the key. We are all looking for features that will make it more convenience to us. If I were to think only for tech, my example would go with

    Altavista –> yahoo –> google

    Why did altavista and yahoo failed to innovation. It was too behind time and the search was not accurate enough, at first it may be hot and people only had that to use.
    Funny thing! before altavista went down, their last most key search was GOOGLE. 😛

    Innovation is key of course innovation that google brought was convenience and accuracy. Something that benefited everyone, it wasn’t a big problem at first till google showed it.

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasMarzano Thomas Marzano

    which is why breakthrough innovation is not about solving problems… it is about making things more convenient :)

  • http://www.twitter.com/JamieCrager Jamie Crager

    Great post Aaron & love the comments… I will keep this short (maybe) …

    I love Twitter because its not Facebook. Period. Its the worlds greatest networking tool, I can honestly say that I could go to any continent & most cities and would have a place to stay. If I were out of a job tomorrow I would have 50 people wanting to employee me, all because of Twitter. The ability to talk and meet people on Twitter that in any other circumstance (including Facebook) would be almost impossible.

    When it comes to marketing it can make Google obsolete. (to a certain point) Every month I send 30K people where I want through the links I post. I’m getting close to launching my site crowdshifter.com and soon I will be sending those people to my blog. In other words, I have no need for Google AdWords or worrying about complex SEO. One could argue, its just not Twitter, all social networks can do that, however Twitter is the most powerful in my opinion.

    Facebook to me is for close friends and family.( I know some of my marketing friends would disagree) I have a little over 300 friends & family on Facebook, but 64,000 people on Twitter. My friends and family don’t care about social media & marketing like I do and thus they don’t want to hear about it, what they want is to see pictures of my 2 year old spitting up at the dinner table & video of vacations. Of course in the end, anyone can use whatever platform as they wish & I don’t think there is a wrong way.

    Twitter is simple, powerful & can be used a dozen ways. Of course Facebook has some advantages, but in the end I would pick Twitter over Facebook any day. My wife would disagree, she doesn’t understand Twitter & lives on Facebook because that’s where her friends are. However to me, Twitter is “networking on steroids” & has an advantage over Facebook when it comes to marketing & getting traffic to your site.

    Anyways, I’ve rambled enough & this wasn’t as short as I thought it would be. This was just my opinion, tomorrow one or the other could be gone, which is why you better have an email list of your friends/followers so when the next best thing comes you can connect with them there. (hint, hint)

    Besides, when my 2 year old grows up he will probably say “Twitter & Facebook are for old people” and will be on some Gen A social network site. lol Its all good!

    Rock on Aaron, Thomas and everyone else. Love this space & your content! Be well, much love to you all! @JamieCrager

  • http://twitter.com/sheconsulting esta h. singer

    facebook launched 7 years ago; twitter only 4. facebook is a closed community, twitter, an open one. facebook limited opportunity to connect outside your box; twitter unlimited opportunity to connect around the world. facebook, history in common (high school, work, family), twitter, interests in common- reason to bond, feeds need to bond and build multiple communities. facebook, flat; twitter 3-d. twitter is real time info, a call to action. twitter is in its infancy, it’s getting onto everyone ‘s radar. there are companies such as hashable that can leverage twitter, giving facebook a good run. Interesting to see!

  • Anonymous

    FB fine for keeping up w/friends & family; Twitter better for discussing current events & the issues. Hard to make real friends on Twitter, IMO.

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com Mark W. Schaefer

    Great post Aaron and I agree with you. I recently wrote a post exploring this from a slightly different angle — the emotional switching costs associated with Facebook. Facebook is not a website. It’s a lifestyle for many people and I think a lot of folks miss that fact. I think you remember the article. Here is a link to the article. “Why Facebook is more important than your house” http://bit.ly/eAvYjs

  • http://www.facebook.com/SunghaeDo 도성해

    I agree with you. Facebook is more impressive.

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  • http://secondbasedispatch.com/ jackiefox

    I disagree on the community-building aspects; one of the things that surprised me most about Twitter was just how strong a sense of community you can get from it. If I had to choose between FB and Twitter, I would choose Twitter. I read somewhere (probably a tweet!) that FB is for friends who have become strangers and Twitter is for strangers who should be friends. There’s more than a little truth to that.

    But I do agree with you that FB would probably prevail just from sheer number of people using it. Interesting discussion. Thanks!

  • http://twittercollege.com Rich Linecum

    Twitter is a service. It’s on phones and web now, soon on TVs, video games, coffee makers, refrigerators etc. Facebook is just a web site, Twitter is something that will replace email.

  • http://twitter.com/Radio_Lady Ellen Kimball

    I’m a former broadcaster, age 71, an early adopter of Internet chat rooms and forums. I have my own blog http://ellenkimball.blogspot.com but became lonely and was stalked by a slightly looney doctor. Tried out Twitter in early 2009 and I love it. Added Facebook later; it keeps me in touch with my extended family. Question: Which one will DIE first? Answer: I predict they will both LIVE until after I kick the bucket!
    Cordially, Ellen Kimball, Portland, OREGON

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  • http://www.theinternettimemachine.com Vee Sweeney

    Going to bring up the dreaded “m” word here; MySpace. I believe people left MySpace for a lot of different reasons but one of the main ones being that the site tried to do too many things at once and that it lacked focus. Did it want to be a place for people to connect and share? Did it want to promote music and movies? Did it want to film people getting married (Married on MySpace) and so on.

    What strikes me is that Facebook can be and is used for several different things as well; the main difference is that they are all closely related and that’s where I feel MySpace missed the mark…the focus was too broad. Now I know this is not about MySpace but I feel it is relevant because I have heard people say all too often that Facebook will eventually fail like MySpace did. I don’t believe that is true at all however because people depend on it too much. There was not the same kind of addiction with MySpace as there is with Facebook and many of Facebook’s users simply feel as though they cannot live without it. While that is an issue all in itself, there is a need for it and therefore it will continue to thrive until the need is not being met any longer.

    As far as Twitter goes, I agree with some of the other comments; they are two completely different platforms that are used differently as well and therefore are not in direct competition.

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Facebook is already dying. Membership numbers is masking the rot. I give you factual data here. Since April 2010 usage per day per member is down 22%. Number of photos shared per month is down 30%. People are getting bored of Facebook and they have zero loyalty. Saying your friends are there is not loyalty. It means your friends are there! If they leave? You leave.

    Also since July 2010 US Uniques per month are flat. Every day 3 of 4 US consumers do not log into Facebook.

    As for Twitter its a form of SMS. And for every Facebook status update each day, 183 SMS texts are sent. I see Twitter getting integrated into phones or other platforms.

    BTW Check out Beluga. Its is kind of FB, Twitter, and Foursquare (minus the brand side of 4SQ) in one.

  • http://nittygriddy.com/ Ingrid Abboud

    Hola Howie,

    And hello to you Aaron :) – such a thought-provoking post – thank you.

    These are such interesting stats Howie.

    Although for some reason, I think both are here to stay for some time. Again – I have nothing to back this up with – just a hunch. But I have to admit – that I spend a heck of a lot more time using Twitter (these days) then I do Facebook.

    I just went and checked out Belugapods.com as you recommended :). I had never heard of it till now. It looks pretty cool actually – some nice features and like you said – a little mix of the 3 biggies.

    I will need to wait for a Blackberry version to come out I suppose – before I can familiarize myself with it more.


  • http://twitter.com/moneyonlinesorg James Sanders

    My two cents? Spam. Even on Twitter I am finding this a bit of nuisance. One thing that Facebook is doing over Twitter, that I can see presently, is giving people a way to avoid it. I believe that the more spam that exists in ANY online platform, the more chance users will eventually get fed up and abandon it. I agree that people use what they like, but most will even stop using what they like if the negatives outweigh the benefits. That’s just human nature.

  • http://twitter.com/AmeriBluesScene American Blues Scene

    I’d have to check the sources for all those numbers. I am heavily into Facebook and it is crazier than ever. The numbers are through the roof. Maybe that is because I am in a niche market but even on my personal profile I notice that people always seem to be on.

  • elJetSet

    Was an avid fan/user of Facebook & when priavcy settings were taken away around NOV 2009, I quit. Privacy “restored” I dared to come back on and I’d say it’s not the same. It’s already dying. While away from FB I found Twitter and I loooooove it! The simplicity, the 140 characters, the friendships and information sharing is awesome. You don’t have to worry about privacy because what you write on Twitter is for everyone. FB was/is more intimate in that you choose who’s your friend (usually friends you know and family) therefore what you share is not for the whole world. Twitter is intellectual, a way to delve into an area of interest, get opinions, information, make wonderful friendships around the globe that have common hobbies, professions or ideas. With Twitter you get the breaking news around the world as it is happening (with a personal touch) and always before the news networks get the story. Twitter can be what you want it to be and that’s the charm. I’m certain that Twitter will outlive Facebook. Twitter serves a purpose; it’s real social networking, while FB has some of those elements it’s crowded by personal gossip. The deeply personal aspect of FB will kill it.

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  • http://twitter.com/ZatoHexer Steven Fourro

    I don’t think it’s an either or situation, I think you can’t really compare the 2. Facebook is about your friends and family and Twitter is a social gathering. You could say Facebook is your House, Twitter is your local bar. How you use the 2 says more about YOU than it does about THEM. :) I’m mostly on Twitter but I now have Facebook Twitter and my Tumblr integrated in so far as: what I post to Tumblr goes auto to Twitter and everything I do on Twitter(even coming from Tumblr) goes to my FB wall. Other apps might come along that dovetail into the mix or not but all 3 make up my web presence these days.

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