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Social media showdown

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Google+ is widely considered as the first offering that could really compete with Facebook.

The social media world has been significantly shaken up following the unveiling of Google's answer to Facebook, Google+.

The throttling of the Facebook Friend Exporter, the expiry of Google's real-time search contract with Twitter, and LinkedIn's blocking of two professional networking apps on Facebook, all indicate that social networks are beginning to compete like never before.

Independent marketing analyst Chris Moerdyk says: “What we are seeing right now is the birth of an incredibly exciting social media era in which change will play a dominant role for some considerable time.

“There will be a continuous stream of innovation such as Google+ and an equally continuous stream of new social media products fostered by advances in technology and the remarkable amount of talent that the world is producing in this arena.

“Everyone in the social media space needs to continuously feel threatened not necessarily by new competitors, but by being left behind in a world that is changing so fast,” says Moerdyk.

Web strategist Eve Dmochowska says Facebook's key advantage over Google+ is its “inventory” of users. “They are going to have a tough time trying to hold on to that, while at the same time not limiting the users from interacting/benefiting from other symbiotic services.

“Shutting off APIs and building walled gardens is one way to go, but can be very problematic if your competitors are more open, and thus give their users a more rounded, free experience. It's a tough balance, and one with which Facebook and LinkedIn will continue to struggle.”

Dmochowska believes platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter will continue to stay strong. “They have niched purpose and can happily coexist in the presence of a strong social network.

“It is Facebook and Google that are going to have to fight for engagement. If we measure the winner based on revenue from the network, my money is on Google.”

Dmochowska argues users will benefit from each platform's fight to continue to exist. “The one that succeeds best will do so because it is going to offer the users what the users want. Which can be summarised into two words: relevance and curation.”

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