Who's afraid of the big bad Twitter?

Apparently people are still talking about "the new Facebook" versus "the old Facebook," as my quick Google news search revealed to me. Honestly, I thought people would be used to this old routine by now: Facebook changes its layout, people complain, Facebook says "you'll get used to it." Lather, rinse, repeat.

You'd think that users would begin to grow complacent by now, but that's far from the reality of the situation. Actually, the reality is that some users are just getting smarter, whether they themselves realize it or not. When Facebook updated its layout last week, I did indeed receive a few "anti-new Facebook" group invites, but more noticeable than those were the passive aggressive status updates from a good number of friends accusing Facebook of morphing into Twitter. In the past, we could all brush off updates to Facebook's layout and home page as just that - updates! Mark Z and the team just wanted to give Facebook a new look and add some cool new features, right? This time, it's not so innocent - Facebook is borrowing from Twitter's model. But why?

It's almost insulting to suggest that Facebook is trying to "compete" with Twitter. Aside from boasting about 20 times more users than Twitter, Facebook long ago seamlessly worked in advertising as a way to monetize the platform (an issue Twitter has yet to fully address). Often, Twitter users explain the platform to new users by comparing the "tweet" to a Facebook status update, so it's not as though Facebook was missing this key function at all. But while it's just inaccurate to say that Facebook is trying to "compete," the new home page is undeniably modeled off of Twitter, and the reason for that is not for your personal benefit: it's to benefit your business.

The truth of the matter is that big brands like JetBlue, Comcast, and Dell have done an AMAZING job managing customer service via Twitter. If I complain about my JetBlue flight delay, I'm getting a DM or @reply in a few minutes apologizing for it and updating me on my flight's status. Much as we could always respond with the same immediacy to Facebook posts on our business pages, there was no guarantee that anybody would even notice unless they happened to check back at the page. Now whenever I post something on theKbuzz's Facebook wall, any given fan might see it right on his or her home page, in between their friends' own updates. And if you were hesitant to believe in the merits of this when the layout first switched over, you might want to check your own page's insights again. Several of the pages we manage (including our own) have witnessed sharp increases in growth and activity. Without adjusting ad budgets at all, we've seen these pages grow as much in ONE DAY as they used to over the course of a WEEK, and the numbers of wall comments and fan postings have seen similarly sharp increases as well.

Though I admit I was wary at first, I have to tell you that Facebook's new homepage has wowed me, considering these fairly immediate results. Now I can say it with confidence: I LOVE the new Facebook!

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