Dr. Media says watch this space, the issues of identity, profiling, transfer of identities, are just the tip of the iceberg. Which identity, is the REAL one, who says so, who says I want you to know my REAL identity, what this issue is about is reputation management, and underneath that and more importantly it’s about trust and intimacy. Are you ready to have only one ID, only one email address, how soon will users be willing to give up anonymity, remember social security numbers, that was the first single sign on.
What will social networking be like in ten years? Who knows, but we won’t be having panels about it. At the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit 07, there was such a panel, titled “Social Networking 3.0,” led by Charlene Li, a senior analyst Forrester Research.
The panelists (below) included representatives from some of the more
prominent social networks: Travis Katz, senior vice president and
general manager of MySpace International; Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder
of Facebook; Rich Rosenblatt, CEO of Demand Media and former MySpace
executive; Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning; and Karl Jacob, CEO of Wallop.
Jacob dealt with the ten year question: “If we are here in ten years
talking about profiles, web sites or social networks, something is
really wrong. Social networks will be woven into every product and
thing we touch,” he said.
One of the big questions is whether social network would be more
open, especially in terms of allowing profiles to be shared among users
of different social networks.
“We are pushing boundaries of what closed and open mean. It’s very
necessary for people to take identities with them and supplement with
content from elsewhere,” Facebook’s Moskovitz said. At this point
Facebook users cannot export their social graph or profile to another
service–nor do any of their competitors with large populations offer an
API for sharing the data.
Facebook’s definition of open is allow external developers to tap
into the social graph so that users can maintain their identity and
graph of friends across apps build on the Facebook platform.
MySpace’s Katz waffled on the question. “I’m not sure if it will
happen or not. It’s fairly complicated and there are privacy issues,
but interesting concept,” he said.
Rosenblatt said the Demand Media is developing a portable profile
for its users that allows them to have a single log-on and to pick and
choose what to expose on different social nets.
Bianchini’s service allows users to create their own social
networks. “In ten years we’ll see millions of social networks for every
niche, need, language, location and passion,” she said. “I disagree
that people want a single profile–they want to have identities for
different social networks.”
That may be true, but users will want to manage their identities in
a unified manner and to have the kind of openness that would allow them
to map friends list across different services.
The application of social networks like MySpace and Facebook in a
business context has been an issue of late. Many corporations are
turning off access to social networks as productivity wasters.
Katz cited one to many communication and sharing files as tools that
can be interesting for businesses, with a caveat: “I shudder to think
how addicting and how much time is spent on social networking. I can
imagine it going terribly wrong,” he said.
The panelists put targeted ads at the top of the list for how they
will make money. Moskovitz noted how businesses that integrate with
social networks, such as Netflix, could surface better recommendations
from the social graph and generate more revenue.
A question was asked about the MySpace, Facebook and a few others
owning the social networking space in the long term. “The lesson from
the Internet is that it’s never game over,” Katz said. Indeed, looking
back over the last decade you can see the leapfrogging that went on in
the search arena.