Social Networking’s Future?

As I blogged after attending the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, the social networking boom amazes me. I continuously ask myself questions to better understand the future of social networking. Most of the answers are speculation, but with knowledge of the history of social networking one can formulate educated predictions. Please take a look at these questions and provide your predictions in the comments section.

Questions?

Is there a need for both formal and informal personal profiles? Will social networks provide users the ability to create multiple profile view options for select friends (personal view, professional view, family view)? (ie. A shared picture marked for friend and family view will NOT be available to friends with professional view access)

Will people join niche social networks? Or are niche groups on larger social networks sufficient?

What is the future for applications? What tools exist for application management? What are the wants and needs of people regarding application management? Do applications need social networks?

Will the larger social networks expand beyond their current services and release new products targeting specific customers (ie. Facebook Corporate Edition, LinkedIn HR Solutions, Etc.)? What is the future of corporate social networking and file & knowledge management? Will the established social networks enter corporate social networking and file & knowledge management?

What is the lifecycle of a social network? Why have successful social networks failed? What activities cause users to delete profiles?

The Ultimate Question: Will one social network become the “one-stop-shop?”

Interesting Statistics:

According to Compete.com over the past year the number of visits per month for MySpace is down 27% (buts still over 830M visits) while Facebook is up 36% (with almost 361M visits), LinkedIn is up 749% (with only 20M visits), and Twitter is up 8373% (with almost 15M visits).

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One Response to Social Networking’s Future?

  1. The way I see it, the web itself is the social network, and then the various “social netowrks” as in Facebook and co are lenses into this vast domain.
    But if you take a look at blogs, you have access to many people through them, bloggers to start with, and then their audience. So if I build into my RSS reader a list of blogs that are relevant to me, I have in fact created my own social network of content/people with whom I can interact as I do now by commenting on this blog.
    So to answer your first question, to think that somebody can have multiple persona is an illusion, but it is a must-have that the various services that I use allow me to control how much information is displayed to whom.
    And along the same lines of thinking, everybody should manage their online image to make sure it remains consistent across as much as possible.
    From the corporate prospective, what companies should realize is that they do not own their employees or customers or partners anymore, and that the company itself is now dilluted into the ecosystem. They have no choice but to start monitoring blogs to make sure they understand what is happening within their ecosystem. And if they are smart about it, they can also turn this into a competitive advantage, by incorporating the ecosystem into the strategy and the value chain, rather than trying to fight it.
    The world is changing, we are living a fascinating era…

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