reported today that both Facebook and Google have had low-level talks with Twitter about acquiring the fast growing social network. Nothing has come of it and the Journal focuses on the large sums of money being discussed: between $8 billion and $10 billion.The Wall St. Journal
More interesting to me is the thought of one of these companies owning Twitter. That sounds terrible to me and to almost everyone who responded to an inquiry about it on Twitter. Why? Because the cultures of the two services are remarkably different.
Some people seem to be concerned about unrealistic valuations leading to the collapse of the whole web tech economy; at least I think that's what they are worried about, they may just be offended by these high numbers on principle. I really think the Internet is going to stick around this time, though, and I think it's hugely disruptive. So I don't blush at talk of billions.
Facebook couldn't be more different, though. It's all about having your hand held. The site is steeped with algorithms and recommendations at the center of the user experience. There's complex settings and options, less spam and less lawlessness.
Might Google buy Twitter? It's long been talked about and that the two companies have been talking is now confirmed by the Wall St. Journal. It's hard to feel nearly as emotional about that idea, though. Would they change anything? Would they shut it down and tell everyone to go use Google Buzz instead? (Ha!) A Google acquisition feels like it would be almost a non-event.
None of this is very likely to happen. There's little reason to believe that Twitter would sell to anyone, other than out of pressure from its growing roster of powerful investors. I find the whole conversation most useful as an opportunity to think about and better understand the difference between the services.
Facebook plus Twitter would likely be very upsetting to many people. What do you think about the idea? Here's what I saw break out on Twitter tonight when I asked what people thought of the idea.