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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social Networking - The Future [05Dec11]

by Mark Suster

Amplify’d from

1. The Social Graph Will Become Portable

Facebook will succumb to pressure and over time make this available to us to allow us more choice in being part of several social networks without having to spam all of our friends again.  I know in 2010 this doesn’t seem obvious to everybody but it’s my judgment.  Either they make our social graph portable or we’ll find other networks to join.  I predict this will come before the end of 2012.

2. We Will Form Around “True” Social Networks: Quora, HackerNews, Namesake, StockTwits

Since 2006 I have been lamenting what I see as “the Facebook problem” – they are trying to lump me into one big social network.  Nobody exists in one social network. I have the one with my friends where I want to talk about how wasted we were at the party last weekend that I don’t want to share with my family network where I share pictures of the kids with my parents and siblings.

I don’t want either of these mixed with the business social network in which I want to maintain the appearance that I’m “all business”

3. Privacy Issues Will Continue to Cause Problems: Diaspora

What I realized in working with so many startup technology firms is that even if you don’t give permission to third-party apps to access your information much of it is available anyways as long as somebody you’re connected to is more promiscuous with third-party apps.  Also, all of those “Facebook Connect” buttons on websites are awesome for quickly logging in, but each gives those websites unprecedented access to your personal information.

I believe that privacy leaks will cause a longer-term backlash against misusing our information but in the short-term not enough people understand the consequences to be alarmed. Diaspora was created in direct response to the growing concerns about Facebook privacy and lock-in.  Whether or not Diaspora will take off is anybody’s guess.  But a lot of people would love to see them or similar players emerge.

4. Social Networking Will Become Pervasive: Facebook Connect meets Pandora, NYTimes
5. Third-Party Tools Will Embed Social Features in Websites: Meebo
6. Social Networking (like the web) Will Split Into Layers: SimpleGeo, PlaceIQ

One of the most interesting trends in the last few years has been watching the Internet split into layers.  At the bottom end of the stack is storage (S3) and processing (EC2).  At the top end is the business logic created by startups and established technology companies.  I’m going to write a whole post on in the next few weeks on the layering of the Internet and the most important layer that will emerge in the next few years.  We know that the layering of the PC era led to huge innovation at each layer in the stack and I expect the same to continue to emerge on the Internet.  But for now suffice it to say that we’re already seeing this happen in social networks.

One interesting layer is the “mapping layer” that is emerging in mobile social networks.
7. Social Chaos Will Create New Business Opportunities: Klout, Sprout Social, CoTweet,, (next gen) Buzzd

We know that Twitter is leading to customer service opportunities for businesses but the opposite is also true.  If you don’t manage what is said about you in social networks it could be detrimental.  Products such as Sprout Social and CoTweet are emerging to help businesses better track and communicate with their customers and leads.  Products like (I’m an investor) will help you manage the efficacy of your social media marketing campaigns.

8. Facebook Will Not be the Only Dominant Player


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