Tag Archives: social networks

What social networks will survive in the future?

Path is one new social network competing for our attention

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:

  1. A social network (120 friends and family) for general communications
  2. An email network (400) for direct person to person communications
  3. A telephone network (16) for your most important friends
  4. A business network (50-100 people) for people you do business with
  5. A games network (5-10 people) for people you play games with.
  6. 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.

When to extend your web site onto a social network


How a social media expert feels when he tries to engage with features on the web that should be on a social network!

How a social media expert feels when he tries to engage with features on the web that should be on a social network!

As I outlined in this post about the Sky News election map I often find myself wanting more social features from the day to day web.

With the advent of social networks and great features like easy sharing, friend awareness and friend to friend communication, it’s not entirely clear when web site owners can extend their channel onto the new platforms to take advantage of these features.

There are three approaches:

  1. Do nothing – “our traffic is still strong, the users will keep coming to us anyway, it’s the only place to get this feature or find this content”
  2. Outreach and capture – “lets reach out to the users on the social network and get them to come to our web site”
  3. Exist in the new world – “lets make our channel features and content available to users in their preferred social networking environment”

To each web site owner there will be a different answer to this question. For companies house there is almost no advantage in using social networks – businesses have to visit their web site to file returns by law, similarly a bank has little to gain with providing its features (transactions, account balances) on the social network.

On the flip side, for a web site that is strongly social  (film web sites for example) it must get its content (film trailers, movie show times) and features (watch trailer, discover nearest cinema) onto social networks as a matter of urgency. Hence we see Facebook trialling Video Social Ads and Adknowledge’s videotheater app

Films compete with each other for viewers budgets. Imagine if a trailer for Film X is shared, discussed and engaged with on a social network and a trailer for Film Y is simply viewed on a website – there are no prizes for guessing which will one the viewers will be more comfortable picking at their next outing to the multi-screen cinema.

So the message for today – create a matrix and break down your features and content one by one and decide “where would it most make sense for my customers to engage with this?” – you may be surprised by the results.

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