Facebook’s Twitter-mania (or phobia) – @User tags and Facebook Lite

Facebook does not seem to get over of its Twitter-mania (or phobia).

First they made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire Twitter for $500 million, then they re-designed the site to make the content more sharable and put more stress on “What’s on your mind?” status messages, made sharing external links easier; and now we have the new feature on Facebook which allows user to tag their friends (or groups or fan-pages) with a Twitter-like @ symbol in their status updates. The @<username> identity of Twitter users is fast becoming a part of standard online coordinate of netizens. This @<username> has been the popular way of replying to tweets and linking to profile pages over Twitter, and it works exactly the same on Facebook as well.

@User Tagging on Facebook

Also, last week Facebook started testing in US and India it’s much talked lighter version named as “Facebook Lite” – a sleek, clean and lighter version of Facebook. Although Facebook officially says Facebook Lite is for users with slower internet connections, and NOT a competition for Twitter, one look at Facebook Lite page tells you the entire story. Here are the screen-shots:

Facebook Lite Screen Shot
Facebook Lite Screen Shot

The “What’s on your mind?” status update box makes way for a still bigger and simpler “Write” status update box. Prominently missing are all the applications and quizzes. The page reminds users of the earlier days of Facebook when all the quizzes and other application updates would not clutter your Facebook home-page. Stress is clearly more on status updates and wall-posts; and though not explicitly, but Facebook seems to be trying to drive Twitter-like status updates and conversations through this Lite page. It would be interesting to see how users will react to Facebook Lite with no applications and quizzes; and how heavy this Lite page becomes if ever Facebook decides to put applications on it.

Is Facebook really trying to woo users with slower internet connections, or is this another of Facebook’s attempts to get deeper in Twitter’s domain – What do you think?

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