Wednesday’s announcements that Google would be pairing up with Twitter, while Yahoo! hitched its wagon to Facebook makes sense from a business perspective. Suddenly Google and Yahoo! have ins with the social crowd — something Google in particular has wanted for sometime — while Twitter and Facebook get significant value-ads to their networks.
But the idea that there’s a coming “war among [W]eb identity giants” (as Joseph Tartakoff so deftly put it) really worries me from a consumer standpoint. Tying each social network to a rival content group feels hasty, because it encourages this very 20th century idea that Facebook and Twitter are rival brands and everyone needs to choose. It’s not Coke and Pepsi. You can drink both at the same time. The two platforms serve very different functions, and it’s silly to pretend anyone can get by with one or the other. Or that your choice should be based on which search engine you prefer. You need both — and several other networks besides — if you’re really going to compete in the social space.
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