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Facebook Lite - Direct shot at twitter? (Full screenshot) (jasonlbaptiste.com)
31 points by jasonlbaptiste 2753 days ago | hide | past | web | 22 comments | favorite

Twitter's privacy settings involve a single checkbox at the bottom of the settings form, and scary ALL CAPS is used to tell you you won't be on the public timeline. Twitter indirectly discourages any information hiding.

Facebook puts privacy in your face from the start and you have such fine-grained control – most Facebook users have some degree of information hiding enabled.

I believe that culture of everything-is-public is what has fueled Twitter's growth, and is exactly why Facebook cannot compete directly with Twitter. Facebook is technically better in every way, but there is a cultural difference in the two communities that allows them to serve separate purposes even when Twitter's functionality is by all measures a subset of Facebook at this point.

To clarify what I meant: Facebook is about communication with known people, and Twitter is about broadcasting. This difference is why celebrities, news orgs, political parties, bloggers, etc, use Twitter and not Facebook status updates.

Being forced to share everything may result in a different culture, but it's really just a less nuanced method of communication than what facebook allows. Facebook lets you to communicate more precisely what you want to say and exactly who you want to say it to. Quite simply, it's a more useful tool for people, which is what technology is at its core.

Twitter will always be novel for introducing the short, sweet, live update to the world, but without expanding its featureset (which Facebook is, almost monthly), it will soon look like a toy.

The private capability creates a lot of complexity for Facebook. While it's true that more granular communication controls creates a more useful tool, it does not mean the people can use the tool. For instance, right now I have Friend Requests from relatives a generation older than me. As someone who started using Facebook in college, I don't know whether to accept and start creating limited profiles or to just ignore them. I'm not interested in creating work for myself. Plus, what's the point of connecting if you're just going to hide everything? This privacy granularity is a problem Facebook really needs to figure out.

Being completely open from the get-go is part of the beauty of Twitter. They should definitely add some more features, but the shear simplicity is quite nice.

While I agree that their current privacy settings create complexity and "work," the solution to this problem is to refine the interface so that making privacy decisions is easier and more intuitive. This can maybe be done with the help of AI/NLP/image recognition ("It looks like you're smoking pot in this picture! Want Facebook to automatically make it private?"), or maybe they just need to explore some new UI design options. Regardless, the solution is not to get rid of the option altogether - the complexity exists because human relationships are complex and require complex systems to represent the nuances of interpersonal communication.

It's like comparing the controls of a RC airplane to the cockpit of a 747: of course a jet has a ridiculously complex control system, it's a complex machine that's getting a lot of shit done at once. Any control you remove from a jet plane would certainly make it more "user-friendly," but it also becomes a less useful tool than it was before.

> what's the point of connecting if you're just going to hide everything?

Counterpoint: Where's the depth in your relationships if you cannot choose what pieces of information you share with whom?

These are great points.

Facebook's (stated?) goal is to represent real world human relationships and connections online in some way. That is complex and messy as humans are complex and messy. Facebook should not get rid of its myriad of privacy options as it's already built-in and necessary for way Facebook took off and grew (the whole point of Facebook was that it was private for college kids). It does certainly face very difficult UI and user training challenges that need to be solved sooner rather than later, if it can be solved at all.

Twitter took another POV and just threw the complexity out. Definitely hippie ("can't we all just get along") and definitely simpler and easier from a UI and back-end perspective. Not as useful, but you know what you're going to get.

Someone snapped a screenshot: http://i30.tinypic.com/2ni4mjt.jpg

good call. added that to the post. thank you.

I always thought of twitter as facebook's natural extension - what happens next in the clash of the titans? Will facebook play catchup on twitter look/feel as a mode like this 'Lite' - and on the other hand will twitter spread out to search chasing google while google chases facebook? Interesting times.

I think you're right. My guess is Lite may just display Status updates and condensed versions of photos and links - just like Twitter!

and, perhaps more pertinently, Friendfeed?

Just updated the post. The message is gone. Jumped the gun?

No. You did right, hell of a scoop. They just pulled it because its not ready.

Who says that there's no point to staying up until 3 am :-) ? At first I thought it was just for a limited group of people (I've been on FB since mid 04 + active user). All of a sudden it went away.

It's 5:35pm for some of us. I got the message - but never actually got the page to load. Thanks for the screenshot

Oh and the best is the necessary Facebook user outlash:



Maybe Facebook Video is next; they already have the Youtubesque comments.

Leave Mark Alone!

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist, willing to take the karma hit.)

i like this...

Lets do the following exercise: on one side write down the people you follow on facebook, on the other side those you do on twitter and compare them.

Facebook: mom, brothers and sisters, and cousins, auntie delores, the dog, the hamster.

Twitter: peers, close friends.

No, they don't match, they don't compete.

Actually, I get plenty of overlap on my FB and Twitter accounts.

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