Should Meta Build A New Twitter? Yes … But Also So Much More

A month or so ago in the days after Elon Musk trudged into Twitter headquarters with a sink and flushed a bit more than half the company down the drain, I wondered if Facebook would consider capitalizing on chaos at Tweet Central by unveiling a what’s-happening-now competitor to the little blue bird.

Turns out, that’s exactly what they were thinking too.

The NY Times reports that Meta employees wrote, “Twitter in crisis” and needed Meta’s mojo back. “Let’s go for their bread and butter.”

Mark Zuckerberg is determined to recover his mojo and get over his misguided flirtation in the metaverse. But he won’t stop there. Because if Zuckerberg truly understs Meta’s real competitive advantage andIts current competitive malaise will see him let a thousand blooms from one single stem. Meta truly has sustainable and lasting value.

I’m talking, of course, about the friend graph.

Zuckerberg’s strategy to date when faced with competition has been to layer, accrete, and add. That’s why Facebook has a million features and far too many different ways to share, with stories and reels and posts and messages and probably others I can’t think of at the moment. And that’s why Facebook, as a platform, continues to lose ground against TikTok, which has essentially one action (the thumb flip to whatever is next) plus a much simpler — and therefore more immersive, less disruptive — user experience.

It seems that the thinking was: X is what’s happening around the globe. X could be a threat. We must do X. Let’s add X to the Facebook app.

There have also been many Xs.

  • StoriesSnapchat was borrowed for use on Instagram and Facebook
  • Facebook GamingCompeting with YouTube and Twitch
  • Facebook datingThis image was borrowed from Tinder and Match.
  • Places on FacebookThis was inspired by FourSquare, now Swarm.
  • Groups on FacebookCopied from Reddit
  • Facebook LiveInspired by Periscope (which Twitter acquired and has since been retired).
  • Chat encryptedSignal is a Signal in WhatsApp
  • Facebook HorizonThe metaverse foundation of, which it borrows from Second Life, is.
  • Places to Buy, courtesy eBay and Craigslist

It all comes down to simple thinking. We have created something which, whether accidentally or by design, has been globally influential and significant. There’s a new thing that is become big, that people like, and that could be a threat to our success. Let’s add this new thing to our existing successful thing … rather than taking the risk of starting something entirely new and failing.

(Because there have been many failures.

  • Hobbi
  • Lasso
  • Slingshot
  • Riff
  • Zimmer
  • More…

But while Twitter appears to have stabilized somewhat after the unceremonious axing of thousands of employees and contractors (though there’s ongoing issues with ads and monetization) here is an opportunity for Meta to reinvent itself which, perhaps surprisingly, follows some of Zuckerberg’s original plan. Zuckerberg thought of Facebook at one time as an utility that provided a social service for the internet. It was a layer on top all other websites, apps, and virtual spaces.

Think of your friend graph like a tool you can use to create an instant community within an app. Not, maybe to every app — antitrust awaits — but certainly to new apps from Meta.

It could be then removed all its accretions.

  • Reels is a standalone app that you can share with friends.
  • Instagram Pure is just like the original Instagram, but without stories. It comes with your friend graphs and followers
  • Simply Marketplace, no social
  • So on…

Facebook’s entire app, which is a massive and heavy-laden beast of a platform can be retained. However, people who want something simpler or more pure can have it. This has a chance of retaining existing users who are fatigued of Facebook’s scope and scale and increasingly user-hostile busy-ness. There are many of them, and not all of Facebook’s recent revenue drop can conveniently be blamed on Apple’s privacy policies.

Even more important, this allows thousands of Meta employees to create something unique, innovative and interesting. This is then available for the public to like, use and share with their friends without having to worry about losing their friend graph. This is where Facebook’s unified messaging is important.

Why are people still on Facebook?

It’s mostly because of our close friends and families. This is what really matters, and not Facebook’s current app.

Meta should create a new Twitter. Meta needs to create a thousand new experiences through a hundred different channels. They will all fail. This is innovation’s nature, and Facebook has been somewhat protected from this because of its lack of competition. However, some companies will win and others may find new markets. Meta will not be able to replace the original Facebook, even though it may die. However, Meta can still have dozens more successes.

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