Why Social Networks Need to Change

Ok. I need an iconic post I can use in coming years to link to so that I can prove “I told you so” or “I predicted the future”. I’ve already referred to my e-commerce post from a few years ago. Need something new.

The post needs to be have enough ideas, some of them conflicting, so that it will support any possible evolution of this market. Let’s see:

Social networks today are booming from facebook-style sharing and friendships to twitter-style mutual public masturbation. Older and stupider variants are dying out: myspace, ning, etc. Also see my post on Orkut.

But somehow it feels like nothing’s changed in social networking for a while. I’ve had the ability to befriend people on facebook for years. Twitter let’s me send messages to anyone who wants to listen (hey all of you 20k+ followers). But it’s been a while since this experience has changed.

Here are the 5 directions social networks must evolve if they want to survive and prosper:

  • Make befriending easier – I keep getting friend requests from a lot of strangers I’ve never met, but then I’m me. Most people aren’t. Make it easier for them to find friends automatically. In fact, I’d rather not have to deal with going through lists of people. Simply select friends for me and add / remove based on our level of interaction and how much they adore me.
  • Make it social – It sounds counter-intuitive (I’m really smart and clairvoyant) but social networks are not social anymore. They’re more about noise and people shouting to be heard, plus everyone seems to put filters on what they actually hear. These are anti-social networks. What’s needed is a more intimate feeling while still maintaining 5000 friends and 20,000 followers.
  • Simplify – To give an example, I can’t stress enough how annoying it is to sift through all the garbage people are writing in order to find a few random tweets here and there that I want to retweet so that people know that I follow famous and influential people. An auto-famous-retweeter would be great! There are lots of other ways.
  • Mash with social currency and augmented reality – I had to have a point that shows I know what’s going on and can predict the near future: what I want are glasses that will show me next to each person I see on the street (or at that closed party Mike is throwing next week) how many twitter followers they have and whether or not they reciprocate shoutouts from others. I don’t want to spend my time talking to people who won’t help me get famouser. Also a measurement of how smart their tweets are would be great, but mostly their level of famousity.
  • Cleantech it – One for you greenies out there. Make some greentech version of a social network that doesn’t pollute our rivers by needing to cool down all those servers. Stop frying the fish!

There. That should survive for the next couple of years. But just to be on the safe side:

  • Integrate in unforeseen directions – Start connecting all those social networks to other aspects of our lives. Expand. Think outside the box. Make all our actions recordable from the restroom to the bathroom to eating; do head-to-head messaging; allow us to swap digital music without the IRAA knowing by thinking the song up; Do something new already!

I told you so!



One Response to Why Social Networks Need to Change

  1. […] brand.com. But MySpace is all but invisible. It needs to be put down, or at least put in a home.See my predictions about where social networks are heading. They’re not heading towards myspace. Zuck tells me […]

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