Twitter Follow Button wants to kill the Like

Ronny Kerr · June 1, 2011 · Short URL:

New social plugin from Twitter competes directly with Facebook's Like button

When Twitter was truly a fledgling startup, back in the summer of 2009, it seemed quite a bit like the company was competing directly with Facebook, the largely uncontested champion of social media. As both services evolved, however, it became apparent that they served separate purposes: the first, as a more public, microblogging entity and the second, as a more private, social network.

All of a sudden, though, that rivalry has new life.

Twitter announced this week the launch of “the Follow Button,” a new social plugin for third-party websites.

You’re probably already familiar with the myriad of buttons splayed across news and other content site, most of which are designed for the simple act of sharing. For Twitter, there’s already the ubiquitous Retweet Button, whose function is obvious. The analog for Facebook users is a share button that posts the article or Web page to friends’ news feeds. Besides these two most popular, there are sharing plugins for Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious... and every other social service in the universe.

Beyond the share buttons, though, are the follow buttons--but they’re not all called that. Facebook calls its own the Like Button. When a user clicks that button on an external website, the user becomes a fan of that page or brand on Facebook.

So too with the new Follow Button from Twitter. If you click the button on a website, as in the IMDB screenshot above, then you can immediately start following an account directly associated with the content on that site.

“For publishers and brands, adding the Follow Button to your website and using Twitter to stay connected with your audience is a powerful combination,” writes Brian Ellin, product manager at Twitter. “People who follow your account are much more likely to retweet and engage with your Tweets, and to repeatedly visit your website.”

With this new social plugin, Twitter has reignited its fight with Facebook over brands and companies’ time spent on social marketing. While many will stick with Facebook, because of its sheer size, Twitter remains attractive for its focus on public and concise content.

Here's the full list of launch partners for the new Follow Button:,, All Time Low, Justin Bieber,, Britney Spears, CBS Interactive, CBS News,,,,, CNNMoney, Condé Nast, EL PAÍS, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports,,, Glamour, GQ, Greyson Chance, IMDb, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, LMFAO, MarketWatch,,,,,, Multimedios,,, Ryan Seacrest,,, Sports Illustrated,, Teen Vogue, TF1, The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post,,,, Vanity Fair,, Wired,, Yahoo! Local, and

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