Facebook is slipping in the hearts and minds of its worldwide audience, if only because of its recent stumbles in the stock market rather than, as well, for more legitimate reasons like its slow embrace of mobile. On the other hand, Facebook continues to be the natural choice of web presence for many small businesses due to its ease of use and friendly interface. Although SMB experts like Brent Leary and Anita Campbell caution against relying solely on Facebook for your business content - since Facebook owns, controls, and can do practically whatever the heck it wants with your page - you can't walk down Main Street without being directed to mylocalstore on Facebook.
Now along comes RebelMouse, using Twitter to update content streams in a simple and attractive interface that instantly transfers your content to a user-friendly page, updated dynamically from Twitter or from a feed.
Paul Berry, CEO and Founder of RebelMouse, in his New York office.
"User-friendly" hardly does justice to the user experience, which sports - simply - a kick-ass design. As a publishing product/tool, RebelMouse is consistent with the trend toward better design that Richard MacManus talks about in ReadWriteWeb. It may also go a long way toward helping Twitter achieve its desire to now become a media company, not a utility. Matthew Ingram talks about this in a recent post on GigaOm.
"We're the public de-nerdifier for Twitter," says CEO and Founder Paul Berry. "As a best-practice user of their API, and with the new version of Twitter incorporating RebelMouse, this could be the very thing that makes Twitter seriously competitive with Facebook in terms of 'friendliness.'" It also represents a threat to Facebook's dominance with small businesses.
"Facebook is too private to be really valuable" to small business, says Berry. "We're able to provide power to their existing domains and content in a design that is fresh, and evergreen."
Berry comes to this startup from AOL where, as CTO, he saw and oversaw the revolution in publishing from static to social. He also was there when the site was witness to the incredible growth of Twitter for SEO and chatter. With backing from angel investors Lerer Ventures and Jonah Peretti, and with 32,000 users right now, RebelMouse has grown significantly since its launch in June. Monetization strategies, for the moment, are hidden in the PowerPoints somewhere, but we're going to be watching this one carefully.