Social Network Websites

Most Social Network Websites will fail. Some attempt to call themselves social network services (SNS). They’re not.  Most all are actually application destinations, not services.

11-15-2011 6-15-25 AM

Application focus and centralization is the fatal flaw of them all. They are like the wall-cities and castles of Europe. Suitable at one point, but structurally failing over time. As people, culture and society transformed and evolved from slave, to serf, to subject, to citizen and, eventually, to individual, walled city-states and castles became obsolete. Same for social network applications. The days of being a social information slave are winding down…

People are discovering their data are extremely valuable. They are resisting sharing it. It makes no sense to fork over all you personal data for nothing. Some ambitious sites even charge you for the privilege. What chutzpah!


See how the change works at CommBank.

“Commonwealth Bank becomes just another customer of your services. Imagine a legion of individuals all trading their own worth on global futures markets, being rent takers instead of rent givers?”

All social media, services, data, platforms and applications will eventually be a ‘dial-tone.’ It will be like RFC 821 (1982) the first pervasive email protocol. This enabled hundreds of bespoke email clients applications to inter-operate and debuted the era of social computing. The loci of information control become individuals… not bespoke application monoliths.

Today’s social media dial tone is the application program interface (API). Thousands of social APIs enable continuous social computing innovation. The ‘Hot APIs’ today are AngelList, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Maps, Flickr, LinkedIn and so forth. They enable perpetual, innovative social mashups delivering profound customer experiences. See –

Remember, personalized social computing portals have been around for decades. They vary in their degree of freedom to adjust and adapt. Vast libraries of API-facing widgets propel customer-focused experiences. My Yahoo! is a current example.

Some destinations are correct, valid and worthwhile. However, the trend is towards users authoring, owning and creating their own social environments. In the future, sharing is discretionary, not compulsory. New offerings must provide benefits and advantages to access your personal information.

As usual, It is all a matter of degree. As the saying goes, “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” (Gibson)

Today’s social media walled cities puts us, the users, somewhere right between slaves and serfs. Zuckerberg happens to be today’s lord of the manor. It won’t last.

12-9-2011 12-32-14 PM

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