Business, Cloud Computing

Life After Facebook and Twitter: The Future of Social Networking

The world we live in is fickle and its choices change as often as the direction of the wind. Where we are today is the result of a long chain of events. Some amazing, strange and yet addictive habits we all share as Social Beings.


Like every generation had its way of communicating:
Passing Notes in Class
Meeting at the ?Local Hangout?
Talking on the Telephone for hours
OH wow.. something happened.. computers.

Talk to you ONLINE
Be in the CHAT ROOM later
I will Page you
I will Email you
I will Tweet you

We have gone from BBS to IRC to WEBCHAT to SOCIAL BOARDS to Cell phones with every one of the above and more all rolled into one. Where will it go? WHO KNOWS.. but I?m sure it will be just as addictive as any other choice we had in the past including what we will be seeing more of "VIDEO CHAT" functionality. 

What will happen to the Contenders of today… Facebook (the current champion), MySpace and Twitter?

One thing is certain in life… nothing is certain at all and everything changes and evolves. As We become more interested in newer toys and gadgets it will eventually lead to the downfall of some other tool toy or feature we used.

The only Three Things that have not changed MUCH but have MORPHED in use are SMS (what you call Texting) <cough>, email – the one thing we love but that never meant to handle 40 meg files but somehow does, and the Telephone.

Making it easier to use them has made them more popular. Video Will definitely be the wave of the future as network speeds improve and all of us get our first taste of a new Social Cloud of Voice and Video callers all on our cell phones.

Heck for all we know… Skype and other programs may become the replacement for the typical texting and phone call. In a world filled with countries that are increasingly banning the use of phones while driving (for a good reason), Hands free ANYTHING has a good chance of becoming a contender.

David P. Reed, former MIT Professor, Information Architect and unexpected Social Media Visionaire. Picture credit: Joi ItoLittle-publicized work by former MIT professor and information architect David P. Reed better explains what happened, and why MySpace?s revised strategy will probably fail, too. The work also provides important insight for Facebook and other organizations looking to avoid making the same mistakes.

First, the conventional wisdom, as captured in the Times:

"The decline of MySpace again shows the fragility of social media, where fickle consumers and changing tastes can make sensations out of services like Tribe and Friendster, which quickly fade from public imagination."

"The decline of MySpace is a tale with echoes of the ill-fated pact AOL made with Time Warner: A high-flying Internet venture gets caught in a culture clash precipitated by joining a big media conglomerate."


"MySpace, though clearly the dominant player, got complacent and never innovated."

Facebook has its situation to deal with including Privacy and responsibility to users, and is recording not just slowing of their growth, but also reporting declines in usage in developed countries such as United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

"Facebook is the undisputed King of social media have you ever heard that "if Facebook were a country it would be third largest in the world?" Well Facebook isn?t a country it?s a communications platform with some pretty fundamental flaws. And it’s already failing."

"That means the King of social media isn?t wearing the most remarkable suit of clothes I have ever seen. The King is actually in the all together but all together, it?s all together the very least a King has ever worn!"

To us, this brings to a conclusion that just like every social network before, Facebook has Five Fatal Flaws:

  1. Facebook technology is fundamentally underwhelming
  2. Facebook can be a Marketing and ORM liability
  3. Facebook facilitates low value interaction
  4. Privacy is a Very Big Issue
  5. Facebook is already failing

Much of the answer lies in the work of David Reed and what is known as Reed’s Law. Developed in the late 1990s, Reed’s Law offers the fundamental insight that the value of social networks depend on how well they facilitate the formation of groups, not just on how they facilitate connections between individuals.

In other words, while networks of fax machines are great because they let any one of us send a document to anyone else, it?s much more powerful to let like-minded individuals form groups around whatever topic happens to interest them and then to share as a group. Reed used his insight, based on some compelling math, to predict in the 1990s that eBay would soon outperform Yahoo even though Yahoo seemed to be as firmly entrenched at the time as Google is today. The ability to form groups even around obscure hobbies – think, collecting PEZ dispensers – was more compelling than the ability to broadcast ads. Today, eBay serves as an e-commerce platform bar none, enabling direct trade between personalities and between business and personality, all backed by quick’n’easy money transfer service called PayPal.

Social Clouds where users are more in control and Devices like Cell Phones and other portable hardware may become the key in linking our future lives together in a whole new way.

The next social network service: YOU
The next social network service to come after Twitter and Facebook bubbles burst: YOU

So what is next? I dream a dream and I say… next Facebook, next Twitter – will be you. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. You will be the next social network and cloud, device and interface. You will be the one whom makes even our current visions seem simple in a few years.

Why? Because IPv6 enables us to go with as much addresses as needed, and you’re already carrying your mobile server: mobile phone in your pocket, notebook in your bag and gigabytes of portable storage in your home, regardless of being in a form of USB stick, DAS or a NAS.

"You: The Cloud" service is something telecom operators would be very glad to serve, since it excludes majority of the revenue going to a third party, that being Facebook (ads), Twitter (pushed highlighting trends), Apple (i-everything) or even eBay. Remember, mobile banking is already becoming a dominant method of payment in African countries.

Tomorrow is even more crazier than we think. Don’t agree? Go back to 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001 and compare the life in those years to today. Remember, it was only 13-14 years ago that the idea of listening to music on your phone was similar to heresy. In fact, listening to the music digitally was a heresy, with "low quality", "cannot reach the CD quality"…

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.