Facebook has been following in Twitter's footsteps for some time now.
Late this May, Facebook introduced verified accounts–a feature already in use by Twitter. And then in June, Facebook released both Instagram Video and hashtags–again, two features in use by Twitter (and Vine) already.
Yesterday, Facebook continued this trend of trailing behind Twitter by introducing Facebook embedding. And yes–you guessed it–that feature has already been available on Twitter for some time now. So what gives? Does Facebook even care anymore, or are they just hoping that maintaining the status quo will be enough for them to stay successful over time?
The answer to the latter question, at least for now, is yes. Despite some thoughts to the contrary, Facebook's mobile ads are killing it right now–they recently brought Facebook's stock back to its debut price, even in the face of many (including us) wondering about how Facebook will continue to measure up over time.
Regarding whether or not they care anymore, we're not sure. We've gotten to a point now where it's so hard to tell different social media platforms apart, that at times they all seem the same. Twitter, Google+, and Facebook–the three main platforms out there, not including their subsidiaries–all have a similar list of features, such that their usage comes down more to the intended audience than anything else.
So is Facebook embedding still useful?
As much as we may hate to admit it (given that this feature has been present on Twitter for all of our recent memory), Facebook embedding does still look like it's going to be pretty useful for both businesses and individuals.
The benefits of Facebook embedding are very similar to the benefits of Twitter cards, which I talked about not too long ago.
Before Facebook embedding, there were third-party apps for embedding posts (although the integrated embedding does make things easier). But because of the inconvenience of embedding posts before this integration, people talking about something you posted were much more likely to either screenshot your post or just quote it in an article than anything else. A link was still present, but it was still inconvenient to follow a link to a Facebook post just so you could "like" that post.
In addition, it was much harder to track the way your posts were being read before Facebook embedding. If a writer took the steps we mentioned–that is, quoting you or screenshotting your post–you wouldn't get any sort of notification about people seeing your article, nor would you get the benefits of them being able to easily like your post.
But as with Twitter cards, which allow you to track your readership even after your tweets or articles are retweeted, reposted, or embedded, Facebook embedding allows users to easily like your post, while also allowing you to track viewership and see where your posts are being reposted.
The long and the short of this new feature is that yes, it's a good thing for you or your business as a regular Facebook user. With that said, this is another clear response by Facebook to an already-present feature on Twitter, which is disheartening for anyone still hoping that social networks would continue to force each other to innovate (even if that idea died a long time ago).
As for us here at SMC? We'll certainly be using the feature in our blog when it's available, and you can count on us continuing to track our posts, but you won't find us singing the praises of this stagnant "new feature" race any time soon.
For now, we have to wonder if Facebook embedding is just another straw on the proverbial camel's back. Facebook may be doing well now, but if they continue keep up with this non-innovation as they are now, we won't be surprised if they fall far behind Twitter in the long run.
John is glad he didn't buy when Facebook went public. Mostly. He's Editor at Social Media Contractors.
Image courtesy of Facebook. (The photo isn't actually an embedded post, because the feature doesn't actually seem to be fully functional just yet.)
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