Should Twitter be afraid of Facebook?

The New York Times has a piece about Twitter, including a nice pic of Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey of Obvious Corp. looking pretty pleased with themselves — as they should, considering Twitter’s traffic has apparently tripled in the past month or two since SXSW helped it become the new black. Jason Pontin of MIT’s Technology Review does a nice job of looking at the phenomenon, without trashing it as totally frivolous and irritating.

snipshot_e4xhbsrlhrf.jpgOne thing Jason doesn’t really get into, however, is how Twitter is just part of a continuum of “presence”-related apps, including instant messaging, email and — increasingly — web-based networks such as Facebook. MG Siegler of parislemon has a post on the topic of how Facebook is eating into Twitter’s functionality with some of its recent updates, and I think that’s a good point. As I’ve mentioned before, the way my 17-year-old daughter and her friends use Facebook’s status update is very much like how they change their MSN user name to reflect what they’re doing or how they’re feeling at that moment. They’re not into Twitter, but if you combine how they use Facebook and MSN and text messaging, it makes total sense.

Could Facebook manage to replace the way they (and others) use MSN and text messaging, and take some of the heat away from Twitter? I think it could, if it keeps adding functionality the way it has been to its status update feature. Why not an instant messaging plugin with Twitter-style features, or even a Skype voice-calling add-on? No reason why not.