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Twitter Versus Facebook: blurring the boundaries

29 September 2011

Award winning technology journalist Mathew Ingram posed a key question regarding the developments launched by Facebook this month.  Facebook has just announced a new feature which enables individuals to 'subscribe' to news feeds from people or organisations that they do not know.  In an article written for GigaOM, the online news provider,  Ingram suggests that this latest feature could arguably be seen as Facebook entering traditional Twitter territory.  Until now, Facebook has enabled people to share information based on a mutually accepted connection, known as a 'Symmetrical Network'.  Twitter offers the opposite, an asymmetrical network,  enabling people to follow whomever they choose.

So, the question posed by Ingram is whether this new service from Facebook threatens the popularity or relevance of Twitter.  He concludes that it does not.   He suggests that Facebook offers the ability to keep up to date with friends, and now, organisations or people that you are specifically interested in - journalists, politicians, members of the Royal Family etc...  Furthermore, Ingram argues that Twitter remains a contemporary version of the traditional newswire: short, sharp bitesize information about activities as and when they happen.

While we agree with his conclusions, we also think that there is an additional consideration that needs to be taken into account. The potential confusion this kind of overlap can create not only impacts individual consumers, but also the brands that are trying to reach out to new audiences.  Where should businesses and organisations put their focus?  If building a digital footprint is essential to your overall brand,  how can you ensure your finite resources are able to meet the demands of cyberspace, when essentially, this new development could mean more work, more updates and yet another digital channel demanding content?

We believe the solution is twofold.  Firstly, organisations must keep hold of traditional marketing wisedom: communicate in the same places and online spaces frequented by your customer base.  Know your audience.  Placing the emphasis on their needs and practices will enable you to morph and flex as required.  Secondly, integrate your  online updates, ensuring that your post, or update, is able to 'hit' a number of different audiences and platforms.  Digital technology provides an opportunity to target niche communities like never before.  Smart integration of your communication channels will not only enable you to keep in touch with current customers, but arguably attract new followers accessing your content through additional platforms.

For more information about integrating your online activities, contact a member of the team.

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