Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Future of Social Networks

In a guest column on GigaOm, Brian McConnell writes about the past and future of social networks. I appreciated the review of previous incarnations of online social networking, but I'm finding his postulations about the future to be a bit long-winded for a rather simple idea: an open standard will be developed/adopted for social profiles (much like RSS for articles, iCal for calendars), online publishing platforms (e.g., Blogger, Yahoo!) will adopt it as a feature, and then commercial social network providers (e.g., Facebook, MySpace) will be in big trouble. There, I said it in one sentence.

However, what I find truly interesting about this subject are the implications of this likely development. And not just in terms of who wins and who loses. More like, who will be first to exploit the new standard in some innovative way (Plaxo?, Tumblr?, start-up?), what new compelling thing will commercial social networks become in order to survive, and (once all your social data is accessible) how will you be able to use this meta-data about yourself? Enter Jackson Miller's conceptualization of 3D social networking.


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