After posting several “top” social network lists over the past few weeks, I started thinking about what will happen when the early adopters tail off and all of these new and existing social networks fall in line with all of the other new and as of yet unknown social networks. What will they do? What will social media consultants do? Picture South Park: Blank stare.
So now what? What do we now? Do we wait to be bought? I thought our widget was so cool. etc etc. The reality is that at some point, and I don’t think it has happened yet, but social networking will become this bloated animal of a technology where you can only do so much with your network of friends. You see, there will come a time in which you will say, “I can only write about so much mundane trivial drivel.” To the extent that you are bored. Unmotivated. That finding the NBT in widgets won’t even get you excited. Then what? Now if your Mark Zuckerberg, it really doesn’t matter at this point, does it?. His 30 year vision notwithstanding, I just don’t see what the value add will be for most social networks. They have to give me more than just a snapshot of you and what you are doing and when you did it! Yeehawww…
Which leads me to what I think will be the NBT for social networks. Through a series of revelatory emails with one of the founders of introNetworks, Mark Sylvester. We both are in concurrence as to what will happen, we have found some common ground so to speak. See if you agree: Here are some snippets from those emails:
” Would like to call your attention to introNetworks, one of the first true B2B social networking platforms. introNetworks debuted at the TED Conference in 2003 and since has created gated communities for employees, partners, customers and events for hundreds of companies. The software specifically focuses on providing an easy to deploy and easy to configure system that delivers business intelligence that serves to help management improve their product, services and offerings to their various audiences”
Hi Mark, thanks for providing an addition to the list of business related social networking sites. Your site/company seems to have a valuable proposition. Although a thought came to me just yesterday that, at some point we are going to reach a saturation level with social networks, and then what? What happens next? There has to be some sort of pay-off here. Granted I can use a social network to meet people, co-workers, business contacts etc etc…But where do they go from here? I have a feeling that the next great app is going to take social networks to another level that we haven’t dreamt off yet. All I can think of at the moment is some sort of melding of a mobile app and social networks on a platform that will change the way people live and conduct their lives.
“Right now it looks like the early adopters and innovators (according to Crossing the Chasm) are embracing the technology and finding applications that extend beyond the obvious ones – like inside the corporation for succession planning, team building, managing a flexible workforce – etc. But that over time, we will start to see some definitive use cases that have shelf life. I agree that there has to be a compelling reason to ‘come back’ to the sites. Remember, we are appealing to business and professional users, not kids with a lot of free time. So, we have to deliver value immediately.”
“Regarding MoSoSo (mobile social software) market, I couldn’t agree more. That is why we have such a great relationship with Neighborhood America”
Thanks Mark for a great exchange. So what do you think? Where do social networks go from here? There needs to be more of a value add. The new ones on the block need to know that but of course that was and is always the premise of any new app or site. What is the value proposition? How will you drive traffic and make money? The bottom line is that social networks need to change the offer now. The ones that are thinking further down the line will survive. The others, will not make it beyond the next 18 months.
Back to South Park, Cut to the blank stare. Now what?