Posted September 11, 2009 2:38 pm by with 6 comments

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youtube vampire logoIs it just me, or does it seem like every time one social media service comes up with a cool feature, it’s only a matter of time before every other site copies it, and there are no cool new features left? This time, Facebook is copying Twitter (yet again) and YouTube is copying Facebook.

YouTube’s latest feature will suggest friends in a “People you may know” box on the homepage (just like Facebook! *fake surprise*). The official blog announcement says that the friend suggestions will come from email addresses you’ve sent videos to (using YouTube’s email feature, not just your email account)—and your Gmail contacts, if your Gmail and YouTube accounts are linked.

Great. We just loved it when you did this in Gmail, and then Google Reader, but now you’re sharing the email addresses of anyone I’ve ever contacted with the rest of your services? How many times do I have to tell you that an email does not a relationship make? (Note you can opt out of allowing anyone with your email address from friending you in your YouTube privacy settings.)

Facebook’s not going to lay down and take this plagiarism. Oh no. They’re going to copy one of the most popular features on Twitter (since they’ve already co-opted the status updates and streamlined their interface to show only the updates)—@ tagging.
facebook tags
Tagging photos, videos, and notes has long been a popular feature of Facebook. But the new system uses the @ sign, popularized as a way of mentioning friends by Twitter, to make tagging even easier:

Now, when you are writing a status update and want to add a friend’s name to something you are posting, just include the “@” symbol beforehand. As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages. Soon, you’ll be able to tag friends from applications as well. The “@” symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you’ve added your tags.

So it’s not just like Twitter’s system—but come on, where do you think they got this idea?

Facebook says the new feature is rolling out over the next couple weeks and will eventually work into applications, too. As with other tags, you can untag yourself from others’ posts.

What do you think? Is Facebook (and YouTube) ripping off Twitter (and Facebook)? Of is this kind of copycatting expected with innovation?

  • At least they’re using similar conventions ;-).

  • Definitely, copying is the highest form of flattery 🙂 The FB v Twitter fight is fast becoming a great battle to watch. I drew some comics about it starting back with /lite was first announced, through this week’s @mention functionality.

    Will be interesting to see who (if either ) “wins”
    .-= Shanee´s last blog ..Post it comic: Twitter imitation is the highest form of flattery =-.

  • May I repost this to my blog? (Ha Ha)
    I can understand why these companies feel they need to do these things. They’re essentially thriving off of a “free” service which depends upon keeping their traffic as high as possible. There are times when I wish other companies WOULD copy their competitors a bit. (StumbleUpon comes to mind, being the most anti-social social media tool out there.)
    Adam @Advent Creative Web Design
    .-= Adam´s last blog ..Introducing the Obray Content Management System =-.

  • Alejandra

    Maybe they´ve got some of these new ideas from those other sites but i think that it is easier to use for those people who are using many social sites and also it could be a coding that they are required to use like html or java.

  • anwar ahmed

    belive me you can take ideas form each other sites, its ok , but here is who is the first and how long the other site takes to develope i t…… , cause in IT , you just need ideas and rest gets develpled /produced but itself somehow..

  • Copycats and lemmings — or keeping up with the Jones? All of the above. In the 15 years I’ve been doing this, no sooner does one site or venue do something and it spreads like wildfire. And that isn’t always the smart thing to do. Some things only work with certain markets in certain environments. So just because someone “copies” that doesn’t mean they are going to be successful in that effort! 😉
    .-= Judith´s last blog ..Have You Forgotten 9/11? =-.