The launch of Facebooks retweet facility is good news for fans of Twitter retweet facility.
Twitter members can now retweet on Facebook by using the new "via" link.
"Via" was launched rather quietly last night and, so far, it looks like anybody can use the new feature.
Here is the low down on how via works:
1. Go to your news feed and a friends post item. Click share a via (your friends name). (You can also remove a via by the way).
2. The news item will appear on your profile, with a via link pointing to your friends profile.
3. A viral loop, which is the same as Twitters "retweet" trail, is created because your friends will see the same item in their News Feeds.
4. You will not be able to via someone elses photo or status update because this feature only works for posted links.
This development is big for Facebook in view of the fact that the most visible use of retweets on Twitter is with links. With aggregators like Tweetmeme tracking the most retweeted news stories, this move will make Facebook more like Twitter.
Facebook have always said that they want to make public more and more of what you post. The launch of the via facility is obviously an attempt to reach that goal of making their service more relevant in the world of real-time news, information and searches.
The proof of the Facebook pudding will be in the eating.
1. How quickly will it take for Facebook members to use this service and start posting shared via links?
2. How will the new "via" feature impact on the numbers of users of social networking sites?
These are important questions because Twitter numbers are not on the up. In fact, they are still down on the massive numbers using the service in the middle 2009.
User profiles of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are diverse.
1. Many people use these sites merely to keep in touch with friends and family.
2. Other users are home based marketers and internet trainers.
Nobody really knows how popular the Facebook retweet facility will become. Nor do they know what impact Facebooks new via feature will have on Twitter in particular.
Will Twitter come up with a feature to counter-act Facebooks via feature? It is still early days.