The future of social networking

Tom James @ 08-07-2008

Where is social networking going exactly? Will Facebook still exist in a recognisable form in 100 years? (I’d say certainly not). Some people are of the opinion that “social networking” is a con designed to persuade people to part with marketable information:

Perhaps [people will] realise that web 2.0 is not there to “connect you with the people around you” and not about some pseudo-academic “social graph”. That’s the bait. The switch is the big data centre pumping adverts based on your age, where you live, who you’re friends with, what you like doing for fun, your politics and your grandmother’s shoe size.

This leads to many interesting debates about who owns the data held on social networking websites, and how much the whole shebang is worth.

My social networkThe problem with exponential growth and constant change is that you can’t tell if something is a flash in the pan or a long term trend.

It seems likely that people will continue to use communication networks to socialise, but that they will become less tied to a particular social networking website, given the systems produced by companies like Plaxo, which (if their guff is to be believed ) allows you to integrate stuff belonging to you and your friend’s from other social networks into one area.

[stories from Technology Review and The Register][image from luce legay on flickr]

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “The future of social networking”

  1. ian says:

    Look, if people want to take my “personal” data which I voluntarily put up on the public internet, and use that information to tell me which of their products they think I would like, so be it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s good in some ways. No more useless pop-ups… If you’re not at least slightly immune to advertising nowadays, there’s something wrong with you anyway. It’s your own fault if you buy something you don’t want or need based on what ad execs tell you.

    What worries me is large databases showing social connections: who knows whom, who supports what causes, who lives/works where. If all this info is properly organized, and in the hands of some group looking to track down “dissidents” or “terrorists”, THAT worries me. When Big Brother goes crazy and cracks down on anyone that maybe might possibly be a threat, a database with this kind of information could lead to some major problems for a lot of people. We need to avoid that, or at least make sure that what we input into these databases is as true and blameless as possible. In a sense, we’ve all got permanent permanent records now, which we ourselves voluntarily contribute too. We should do so with care, and we should do our best to make sure that they aren’t misused by anyone.