Facebook loses out to Twitter as it falls out of top 20 'Cool Brands'

It's been eight years since Facebook set the standard for what we now know as Social Media.

MySpace may have been the originator of social interaction scene throughout cyberspace but Facebook took the ball and run with it, now connecting its 955 million members around the world to their friends, family, colleagues, school pals and businesses or brands.

It began a digital movement that has invaded every area of our lives but in Britain this week, Facebook has fallen out out of the top 20 "Cool Brands".

[Related: Coolest brands in UK named]

Voted for by nearly 3,000 British consumers and a panel of experts, this year's Cool Brands list is the most technology and media heavy ever with Apple at No1, YouTube at 2 (up eight) and Twitter in third place.

And with Google fifth, BBC iPlayer sixth and even Skype at number 18, the omission of Facebook could be telling, given its recent problematic stock market flotation in America.

Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the CoolBrands Expert Council, said: "It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure.

"Whether watching our favourite shows online, sharing opinions, viewing comedy clips or speaking with friends from across the world, these brands bring us inexpensive entertainment and enjoyment that we appreciate and value highly."

But despite the shock poll result, Drew Benvie, CEO of technology PR company Hotwire, believes the demise of Facebook's appeal should be treated with caution.

He explained: "It's important to bear in mind who was polled here. Coolbrands asks UK adults for their views when compiling this list. Twitter has always been more of a platform for grown-ups, Facebook much younger."

But Drew added: "There's no getting away from the fact that everywhere you look, social media is part of mainstream consciousness. Not only does it have the cool factor, it is all-pervasive.

"It dictates the media agenda, allows us to tune into our favourite sportsmen and women, celebrities and brands. It's no surprise at all that companies like Twitter and YouTube have edged out the likes of Dom Perignon and Maserati."

Where though is social media moving? In the past 12 months, photo-sharing platform Instagram was snapped up by Facebook for hundreds of millions of dollars and a simple online photo-scrapbook called Pinterest became the next big thing.

Companies from the small local high street store to the biggest blue chip brand have also embraced it more than ever, staying in touch with their customers old and new, with varying degrees of success.

The Waitrose incident last week is a case in point, where many Twitter users finished off the "I shop at Waitrose…" Waitrose Reasons hashtag with less than complimentary explanations.

The recent social media successes of the London 2012 Olympic Games though proved just how ingrained the technology is within our lives, and so-called "second screen" viewing - where people tweet and update their Facebook about what they're watching on telly while watching it - is on the rise.

According to Kyle Lacy, of marketing company ExactTarget, there are 13 different types of people in the UK using social media, shown in his infographic.

These Digital Personas range from those focussed on using it to connect purely with close family and friends, who tend to be under 25 and over 55, to the Information Seeker, desperate to consume details but not interact with others.

Others include the News Junkie, Deal Seeker thanks to the popularity of money-saving social websites such as Groupon and also the Socialiser, who uses Facebook and Twitter to maintain friendships, often more digitally than in reality.

Will McInnes, who is speaking at next week's Meaning Conference in Brighton about social media's impact on business, believes our social media appetites are are moving on from platforms like Facebook.

He said: "What we're seeing is a totally fundamental shift in how businesses connect with people. We don't empathise with old, closed-up, product-led brands any more. We want to know the story, we want to be part of the story, and we want meaning from what's going on around us.

"That's why companies that enable connections are bang up there; not just Twitter, Skype and YouTube, but iPlayer, Glastonbury, Google, Nike and even Apple. They're all companies that mean something to us and somehow connect us with one another to help make things more meaningful."

He added: "We're living in exciting times where the rule book of how businesses behave and communicate is being torn up and business models are being reinvented.

"We're moving from a world where social is a place, like Facebook or Twitter, and more of an everyday layer - like how social sharing is built into your Kindle, your running shoes with Nike+ or your cat flap through a sensor like Twine, currently funding on Kickstarter.

"Social is starting to change how we think and behave in every day life, in petitioning for things we care about, in where we go to find answers to problems we have, in locating products and services that we
can trust.

"So the implications are less about distinct social applications like Skype and Twitter, and more about how every brand and organisation evolves to accommodate peoples desire to have their say, to engage, or to be part of something bigger. Watch this space."