Facebook was not the first of its kind. There was MySpace. Friendster is a comparable example. And there was, of course, Orkut.
Facebook did the ‘social network’ thing better than the ones before it. It didn’t create it.
Twitter, on the other hand, was the first of its kind. And till date, no one has been able to do Twitter better than itself.
It’s a curious case of Twitter having to compete/benchmark with its own self in the absence of any meaningful indices.
Kinda explains why Twitter has, at various points in history, called itself a media entity, a broadcasting platform, and of course a good-ol social network.
This confusion as to what Twitter is, in the absence of competitors who together with Twitter could have ‘defined’ the category, explains why Twitter today has potential suitors ranging from Disney to Google to Salesforce :-|
Goes to show, sometimes, it’s a better business to try and do it better than the previous guy than trying to create a category on your own. And if you attempt it, you better pray there’s one more guy who joins the party.