It looks as though, Facebook will do all that is required to slow down the growth of Twitter and to retain their own popularity.
First they added real time search to Facebook, soon after it was incorporated into Twitter and then they acquired FriendFeed.
Their latest move along this path is the incorporation of @mentions on their status updates, which allows users to respond directly to various comments, event announcements and so on.
To use this feature, the user has to type the ‘@’ symbol in the status update box, and a drop down menu then allows the user to tag friends, groups events etc. The concerned party will then receive a link to this post. This procedure is expected to simplify the use of Facebook.
@mentions, which were earlier called @replies are an extremely popular feature of Twitter. In fact, @mentions are one of the main reason behind Twitter’s popularity as a quick communications tool.
Several Facebook users made use of Twitter for their status updates. With this new feature, users will no longer need to access Twitter to message their friends. Facebook users will now be able to tag and chat with each other directly on Facebook. It will, in fact, be possible for users to update Twitter through Facebook, instead of the other way around, which has been the case so far.
Marketers and advertisers will also now be able to communicate and interact with their clients through Facebook as they will be able to follow each comment attached to their name. This will be beneficial for them as Facebook has 250 million users and Twitter has only 10 million.
Another major advantage for Facebook will be the ability this feature gives users to broadcast breaking news on Facebook instead of on Twitter.
Though all these changes are likely to have an impact on the numbers of Facebook and Twitter users, one thing to be remembered is that most users use Facebook only to communicate with a group of known friends, whereas Twitter is used to follow the comments and opinions of people with a common interest, even if they are complete strangers in the real world.