Home > Social Networking > A hidden alternative to Twitter?

A hidden alternative to Twitter?

Twitter, the most popular microblogging website, allows users to post “tweets” about what they’re doing, or thoughts. Millions of people use Twitter to post updates about themselves, or connect with others. Companies are beginning to get Twitter accounts (ironically, even Facebook has a Twitter).

Twitter is another example of how a small group of people, with a relatively low budget, can make a huge worldwide impact via the Internet.

To get a good idea of this, just look at Twitter’s headquarters (pictured below). They don’t even own the entire building, just the top floor.


But Twitter may have an unforeseen competitor that could take at least some potential users: Google. And surprisingly, I’m not talking about Orkut, which has pretty much failed to catch on among the social networking crowd.

The service? Google Reader.

Again, one of the main reasons people join Twitter is to stay connected with companies and other people. Each user has a unique page displaying tweets from the users they are following.

Well, everyone has an RSS feed as well. And Google Reader has the ability to merge RSS updates from a number of feeds into one page, displaying them in chronological order. Sound familiar? You can stay connected via Twitter without a Twitter account, but only recieve tweets.

I will note that Twitter has major features that Google Reader lacks as far as tweets go. For one, on Twitter, you can select a certain group of users that will exclusively recieve your tweets. That can’t be done with an RSS feed. Next, links cannot be as easily followed on Google as they can be on Twitter. And finally, the interface just isn’t as clean and easy to use on Reader compared to Twitter. Numerous options appear on the side, which someone who used the service just to recieve tweets would probably deem unuseful.

So is Google Reader really a threat to Twitter? No. But is it a hidden alternative? Yes.

Categories: Social Networking
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