Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Wednesday Social: What’s the Future of Social Networking?

We’re not asking if there is a future for social networking. That much is clear. We’re not even asking if there is a future for mobile social networking. With smartphone technology, social networking using your mobile device is a given. But what is going to happen to social networking as we know it? A Saturday New York Times article voiced what many of us have been thinking for a long time – the end is near for many social networking sites.

The trend in social networking sites has been and continues to be growth and expansion into new demographics and with new tools. The successful sites are creating applications, games and tools that make keeping in touch with friends and peers easy and efficient (such as having mobile applications or at the very least, mobile-friendly Web sites). Successful sites have also found niches, such as LinkedIn for business and professional networking, MySpace for bands and other performers and Facebook for students. Increasing revenue has not been a primary goal for many sites, with creators and executives believing that profits can and will come after developing an audience. While this will hold true for the leaders of the pack, other social networking sites are likely to fall into oblivion, and soon.

It will be interesting to see who survives and who fails, and which sites will be able to turn a profit in an over-expanded population of sites all fighting for the last piece of pie. I’d be willing to wager that the winners will have as many bases covered as possible, including mobile applications that allow users to access their friends wherever, whenever.

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