Anyone with a web presence can probably tell you that Twitter's growing extremely fast. It's outpacing Facebook's growth in the same period, according to Nick O'Neill's analysis using Google Trends. Here's the chart:
However, I am not convinced that this is a fair comparison.
- First of all, the early Facebook was not an open service. It required you to possess a dot-edu email address to register. The comparison should be made to Twitter's college student user base.
- Second, the price of admission to Facebook has always been considerable higher than Twitter. A FB account without a full profile is less meaningful and severely limits the user experience. Part of the cost of being a Facebook user is the profile completion effort. Twitter does not have this barrier.
- And finally, I attribute a part of Twitter's growth pace to the existing proliferation of social networks, including Facebook. Facebook has been a catalyzer to Twitter.
It's tempting to compare Twitter and Facebook. However, I think it is as misplaced a comparison as the common Facebook / MySpace deathmatch. Twitter is not a technology company. It's a great feature, and I don't mean that dismissively, as I think you can build a great company with a feature. Nevertheless, I'd be worried, if I ran Twitter, of its long term viability. There will be only one owner of the social graph and the current favorite to win is Facebook.