Where is social networking heading?

At some point in the future we are all going to be signed up for at least 5-10 social networks apiece. (Some of us are well past that number now.)  This fact has become inevitable as more and more companies and organizations begin to integrate social networking into their websites. Soon we will have a social network for everything:

  • Your general personal sphere (MySpace, Facebook, et al.)
  • Your professional sphere (LinkedIn)
  • An employer created network(internal and external facing communities)
  • And education based (your continuing education or your child's school)
  • And the fast growing Niche based (with sites focused on entertainment, news, shopping, finance, home management, etc)
Being part of these communities is going to become important in order to manage the latest communication and information in our everyday lives. With all of these networks out there the big question is how we can manage all of the activity, data, and logins. Allowing us to participate while managing our time effectively and not burning out in trying to maintain all of these profiles.
There are solutions that are being developed and deployed to help users manage all of these networks.

1) Data Portability- The ability for users to share their content and data across multiple social media sites is encouraging. Of course right now there is no clear standard as of yet but the data portability project is working towards specifications.

Last week facebook, MySpace, and google all announced their own data portability efforts. In reality these companies are racing to be your preferred data home.  Each of these projects will allow smaller sites to use their log in credentials to populate your information on new participating sites that you are working with. Eventually though we will have a list of standards and people will have options to choose as their "home base" of information.

The days of joining a network or site and having to fill out all your information will be done in the near future. Also we will no longer have to upload content onto various websites and networks. For example if we have one picture that we want to share on multiple sites and networks we can upload them to one account and share them over multiple systems.

2)    Open ID- Besides having to worry about populating our profiles and sharing our content we have to keep track of multiple user names over various networks. OpenId is a project that is working on correcting that. Users are getting a single digital identify to manage and maintain, allowing people to have a central set of credentials to control and manage.

While the first two solutions seem to be on the right path in making our lives easier the third is something that I think has a lot of potential but hasn't really been developed yet.

3)    Better aggregation of data- Currently we can follow what our friends are doing via multiple types of activity streams: blogcatalog, friendfeed, 8hands, and various other methods. None of these though integrate the direct messaging features of social networks. While we can be alerted of comments and messages via e-mail or desktop clients, one single program needs to come along and not only integrate activity feeds but messaging as well.

This is the one hurdle that is probably going to be the toughest to overcome because of monetization, traffic, and programming issues. But I believe at some point we will see some type of full aggregation of all the data and messaging on these social networks.

In the end the evolution of the social network is going to boil down to openness and aggregation. I am excited to see what the next few years bring.

What do you see in our future?
(Besides flying cars.)

Comments | Add Comment

BY: HART (1-800-HART) (13/05/2022 3:30:51 AM)
COMMENT: Actually, I can't really figure out where or when it stemmed from, but I just do NOT believe OPEN-ID is a good thing, and in fact avoid it. I also don't believe in Password Management applications. I just figure .. it's not right to risk losing everything at once, if you lost the master password are are compromised. It's a matter of repetitive misconceptions and assumptions that I've had for the past 10 years or so and I've never updated that viewpoint or wanted to do research to see if I should reconsider.

BY: me (12/05/2022 10:30:35 PM)
COMMENT: perhaps http://cardspace.netfx3.com/content/Introduction.aspx will be part of the single login solution.

BY: Jeff McCord (12/05/2022 10:10:35 PM)
COMMENT: Great post. Thanks for the extra insight. I just wrote a few articles on my blog (www.jeffmccord.org) about Reputation and finding jobs using social networking sites. As a recruiter for 9 years, I know that companies and HR depts are beginning to take social media/social networking to the next level in finding top-notch talent. It's all very interesting! Great job!

BY: Kevin Palmer (12/05/2022 4:19:03 PM)
COMMENT: It really depends on how they are being deployed. I agree that there can be only so many "general" types of social networking and entertainment sites. However I think that specialized usage of social networking has a ton of room to grow. Look at how Obama uses it in his campaign, look at how some companies have used it as a knowledge capture device, and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg on the deployment.

BY: AnonymousIsWatching (12/05/2022 4:14:55 PM)
COMMENT: There are a growing number of people who resent social networking sites and dismiss them for what they are: nothing more than just another "niche" site except the "niche" for myspace and facebook are exhibitionists and egomaniacs, commonly refered to in netspeak as "Attentionwhores" or "Camwhores". More and more it seems these sites are driven not by new userbases or innovative site design and function, but by how Wall Street feels about it this week and how many times MTV puts an online personality on cableTV. This is tenuous at best; The fickle public will not see this as a new and exciting idea forever. Eventually the bubble will burst and then we'll think about Myspace and Facebook like we think about the original internet "social networks": BBSs and IRC

BY: the_voice_of_reason (12/05/2022 4:05:08 PM)
COMMENT: krystiana, you didn't have the respect to read the entire article before commenting? Please leave the Internet, and never come back.

BY: Carmen Bracamonte (12/05/2022 3:52:01 PM)
COMMENT: At this point we should be concerned about Big Brother unless you have something to worry about. Hard working citizens like many of us just need to keep gearing our comments to creating a trend that keeps all this social networking platforms into one single point of contact. That will be my dream rather than having 100 accounts to monitor daily.

BY: Kevin Palmer (12/05/2022 2:39:18 PM)
COMMENT: The government and companies have been monitoring your habits long before the internet or social networking. There have been sales databases configured around where you use your charge card, what magazines you have ordered, and other things. A digital footprint is not needed to for people to collect information on your activities.

BY: JURY RIGGER (12/05/2022 2:39:13 PM)
COMMENT: They'll evolve slowly like they have been for 10 years. Myspace is still a spam company. Facebook is more boring than a country club. Digg is AOL, jr. The professional sites are still useless for face to face business. You share with friends and partners not random acquaintances. Social networking will mature a bit, but the real world still has way more room for improvement.

BY: JURY RIGGER (12/05/2022 2:39:00 PM)
COMMENT: They'll evolve slowly like they have been for 10 years. Myspace is still a spam company. Facebook is more boring than a country club. Digg is AOL, jr. The professional sites are still useless for face to face business. You share with friends and partners not random acquaintances. Social networking will mature a bit, but the real world still has way more room for improvement.

BY: krystiana (12/05/2022 2:23:24 PM)
COMMENT: i didn't read the entire article, but with all these personal sites to monitor us, i see big brother coming pretty soon to dominate america. i mean, we are making it so easy for the government to monitor us with these sites.

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