This is a question we’re always asked. It’s usually phrased as “what comes after Facebook” but the sentiment is the same.
I think the key response is that social networks in some form or other are here to stay.
A social network is a digital mapping of your relationships and tools to communicate with them.
I believe that in the future most users will want to maintain the following social networks of these approximate sizes:
- A social network (120 friends and family) for general communications
- An email network (400) for direct person to person communications
- A telephone network (16) for your most important friends
- A business network (50-100 people) for people you do business with
- A games network (5-10 people) for people you play games with.
- A number of specific interest networks (10-1000) people (eg. sports, religion, hobbies, special interest groups)
From a strategic point of view you can see the major networks competing to provide more features – Facebook is launching email to take control of both your social and email network for example. Google just tried to buy Path for an eye-watering $120m.
They will always be competing with new social networks will continue to spring up as technology changes – for example Path is a social network designed around your location, Blippy is a social network around what you purchase.