The gloomy future of social networks from hype to collective intelligence

The world started with a Big Bang and now it seems that the Universe is expanding endlessly. And that’s exactly what happens with the phenomenon of social networks. In every quantifiable way, in every statistics, we can notice a massive growth of interest in social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. However, what is the future of these networks? How long will they last? What sizes are they able to reach? Does a 3712% growth in the time spent on Twitter within one year prove that the future of social networking will be bright?

Networking- a dominant online activity?

More and more internet users are trying to find themselves in an intangible net society. One click and you’re in. That’s social networking – they accept you without knowing you personally and ask for advice, even if you’re not an expert. According to a Nielsen report Global faces and Networked places social networking aspires to become a dominant online activity. Using Nielson’s numbers we can also note some changes in the “content” of member social sites’ users – the greatest growth was in the group aged 35-49 and 50-64 year elders are only accidentally in Social networking space. Clearly, the audience gets broader and compared with last year we spend more time on Facebook (approx. 1,5 % of our lifetime), MySpace, LinkedIn, not to mention Twitter and everyday blogging. Of course, all these numbers will be continuously growing. The following presentation by Marta Kagan gives a good overview about what is going on in Social networks.
View more documents from Marta Kagan.

The Twitter Effect

What puzzles me, is the still growing power of  networks’ persuasion. That’s why we have increasing numbers of Twitter’s effect victims. Let’s take the “Bruno” movie as the most recent example. It was to be a successful follower of “Borat”, but in the end it wasn’t. Hollywood insiders predicted a $50 million income for its makers, but they didn’t foresee the impact of the Tweets’ and the pace it struck with. Nowadays, everything is reviewed online and negative social reviews will easily affect businesses, film industry, political campaigns, publishing companies, the whole tourism and many more.

Let’s free up our memory!

Though it’s hard to guess how people will react, it’s quite easy to predict, in which direction networking changes will proceed. In his speech, given at Graphing Social Patterns West conference, “Charlene Li says: “the future of social networks will be like air”. She later predicts the universal identity and a single social graph. In other words, we won’t have to remember every single login and password to our every web account. Everything will be unified and attached to our accounts provided by Google, Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft or another party that will arise.

Single Social Graph – life gets much easier

The idea of a single social graph is even more tempting for the ones with huge networks – the system will memorize all people we interact with, how often we contact them and by what means of communication. Our Single Social Graph will be created. Thanks to that, we’ll be able to start enjoying new network services with our friends, who are already there. It will be easier to share and find information generated and collected by like minded people who will be our future friends. On the other hand it is scarry as well. Big Brother could really watch us, but hardly anybody seems to care. We are curious about your thoughts. Feel free to share them with us by commenting below, or meet us on Twitter: @GOYELLO.

VP Software Development Europe for Aspire Systems. Sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, a great combination that stimulates him to look for the best working software solutions for clients. Passionate about converting great ideas into new solutions. Married and a proud father of 3 great sons. Training for and participating in triathlons/runs to stay fit.