Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Future of Social Networking

This months WebGuild meeting was focused on the Future of Social Networking. There were three panelists - Jai Shen, CTO of Rock You, Sundeep Ahuja, Founder Appfuel and Jonathan Abrams, Founder & CEO of Socialzr (or more notably the founder of Friendster).

For a pretty good play-by-play check out the Innovation Creators blog. Here I will capture my key take-aways:

  • According to Sundeep, Social Networking is going to become more implicit vs. explicit. This will allow us to take personalization to a new level with behavior adaptation. For example, you may have 100 friends but only 20 are 'real' friends who you interact with regularly - your network will be able to pick up on that behavior pattern and personalize your experience based on that data.

  • Jai makes a good point about how Social Networks need to evolve with people as they transition to different stages of their lives. He uses Friendster as an example where it was popular with high school and college students, then, everyone got married...

  • Sundeep's insights on monetizing things brings up the shift we're seeing throughout the web in that interaction and engagement is an increasingly important factor of measurement. Jonathan points out that while people are spending a lot of time in Social Networking sites, their intent is not to buy as it might be when they are searching for something on Google.

  • Forget about mobility - Jai bring us back to reality as he talks about how behind the US is when it comes to mobility. The fact that text messaging is just taking off is a sign and if that's not enough, the iPhone doesn't even support MMS

  • According to Jai, only 1% of Facebook apps succeed (measured by 1M users or more). Statistics like that one highlight legitimate questions about how attractive these types of applications are (or are not) as a marketing channel.

I'll be adding insights from the IDC Social Networking event that I attending this morning in my next post....

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