Last time I wrote about the demise of BlackBerry (BB) in Indonesia and no one believed me. As you can see, BB's share is getting smaller and smaller. Android is getting all the attention. This time, I'll write my take on Facebook vs. Twitter.
Indonesians love to talk. We don't write, but talk. It's just our culture. That's why the number of written publication in Indonesia is very small. Our culture translates well into Facebook. We love to tell people about our family and stuff. We love to show our photos. We love (class) reunions. Have a reunion, take pictures, upload them right away. Tell the world. Let's not go into taking photos of our food. That's another "strange" behaviors.
Privacy? Well, that's not an issue to us. We don't really care. Ha! Seriously.
Originally, Facebook is only accessible through web or computers. Access to computers are still limitted in Indonesia compared to cellphone. Thus, only a small number of people joined Facebook. Then, BlackBerry came in and made it super easy for people to access Facebook. Both BlackBerry and Facebook exploded. You can check the statistics (here and here). Indonesians are up there 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Do we even wonder why? The signs are all there.
Now, things have changed. Again. First, you don't need BlackBerry to take photos and upload them to Facebook. Android phones can do that. Cheaper and it's an open systems - plenty of options to choose. BlackBerry did not respond quickly to this change. Either they don't know (because they don't have their R&D in Indonesia) or they don't care. They pay the price now. It's too late. Have you ever heard of a phone company that came back after being hammered like this? None. It's that bad.
Now let's focus on Facebook and Twitter. Remember that Indonesians love to talk. It's easier to do that with Twitter compared to Facebook. Facebook is "heavier" in terms of access and design. Twitter is more suitable for yada-yada. Another thing to consider is network (internet, cellular) reliability and speed are still problematic in Indonesia. Slow and unreliable. This makes Twitter even more attractive. The results, more Indonesians are using twitter these days. They are migrating from Facebook to Twitter.
What's still missing from Twitter is the ability to tag people in photos posted in Twitter. You can do that in Facebook and Gplus. But, I guess this feature is less important compared to the snappiness and easy access of twitter. Facebook should develop a client that only shows status. Quick and simple. The idea is to keep users from moving to twitter. (And twitter should have a photo tagging mechanism. That's a different issues all together.)
To understand the behavior of the users, you have to be there. I just couldn't understand why Facebook (and previously BlackBerry) doesn't have a small R&D in Indonesia. You have to be here and smell the coffee. I hate to say, I told you so. We'll see how it goes.