Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A history of Social Networks - Open always wins

Techcrunch ran a very interesting series of posts about the history of social networking. They were written by Mark Suster (@msuster). I think you should go ahead and read all the posts, but I'll pass on some highlights here to get you started.

Marks posts are about the “6 C’s of Social Networking” – Communications, connectedness, common experiences, content, commerce & cool experiences (fun!). He stresses that social networks exists before they were hyped in our time they just work better now "and there are more people doin’ it." And a bit further on: "Yes, social networks of 2010 have much better usability, have better developed 3rd-party platforms and many more people are connected.  But let’s be honest – they’re mostly the same old shit, reinvented, with more people online and trained.
But less considered is the fact that the success of the Web 2.0 companies versus the Web 1.0 ones were enhanced because they coincided with hardware that allowed us to capture more content instantly – namely images and video – otherwide Web 2.0 might have been a lot less differentiated."
He relates back to the beginning of internet and AOL. "The funny thing about AOL is that while you dialed up to the Internet, the goal of AOL was to keep you locked into their proprietary content and thus earned the classification of “walled garden” because they kept you inside AOL." From AOL he goes on to show how closed and open social networks has been successful or not. "The lesson was learned over 30 years in Silicon Valley: you create ecosystems where third-parties can innovate and thrive and you become the legitimate center of it all and can tax the system later.
He closes off with social networking trends he sees (- I only list a few of them):

  • Social Networking is becoming mobile "and that adds new dimensions to how we use social networks.  The most obvious change is that now social networks become "location aware.""
  • Facebook is our social graph and will be so for the next decade, Mark says. He goes on to say Facebook with make our social graph portable or we'll move to new networks. Because "nobody exists in one social network." He thinks public and private network will be more separate in the future.
  • There will be lots of focus on privacy in the future.
  • Social networking will mix with everything we do. "As our social graph becomes more portable I believe that social networking will become a feature in everything we do."

What really struck me in these posts is that it shouts out: Openness always wins on the long run. Do you agree? This is the case in mobile, but also in social networking (tools).

Two other nice quotes to think about:

  • "Twitter is much more.  ... in a nutshell it is: an RSS reader, a chat room, instant messaging, a marketing channel, a customer service department and increasingly a data mine."
  • "When you’re on Facebook you’re not on the Internet—you’re on the InterNOT."
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