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Why Twitter Is Trying To Be Facebook

Coletivo Mambembe / Flickr

Coletivo Mambembe / Flickr

In the last few months, Twitter has hinted at a gradual slide toward looking and feeling more like Facebook. Specifically, its teased a Facebook-y redesign for profiles, toyed with getting rid of @ mentions, and just yesterday, it introduced multi-photo tweets and photo tagging.

For Twitter purists, this sucks. As Gizmodo put it, if we wanted Twitter to be Facebook… we’d be on Facebook.

But for Twitter, the changes and proposed changes aren’t without good reason. For starters, just look at the world’s most popular social networks:

If that wasn’t enough, Twitter was just surpassed by Instagram in terms of total U.S. mobile users.

In short, Twitter needs to grow. It appears it’s trying to do that by appealing to the masses—and no social network is more massive than Facebook. It’s familiar, and maybe familiarity will be enough to get some people to try Twitter.

Whether more Facebook-like features are implemented will depend on how Twitter’s core users react. There’s a balance to be struck between “things we can do to attract new users” and “things that will attract new users but piss off old ones.”

Expect the search for that balance to become more intense and more regular. Twitter is, after all, a publicly traded company now.

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