Watch This Space: The Next Generation of “Social Networks” Won’t Look Like Facebook.

Lately in talks and private conversations, I've been thinking out loud about the role of Facebook in our lives. It's an extraordinary service (and company), and deserves its extraordinary valuation. But its approach to our "social graph" is limiting, as I and others have pointed out quite a bit. While…

Lately in talks and private conversations, I’ve been thinking out loud about the role of Facebook in our lives. It’s an extraordinary service (and company), and deserves its extraordinary valuation. But its approach to our “social graph” is limiting, as I and others have pointed out quite a bit.

While in Mexico I had the chance to sit with a couple of entrepreneurs who have an idea I feel is deeply *right* about social networking, and it couldn’t be further from how Facebook works today. I can’t outline what the idea was, but I can say that it hit the same nerve, that we are on the precipice of entirely new ways of thinking about our relationship to others as leveraged over digital platforms, and while Facebook may well be the oxygen or the landmass of this ecosystem, it won’t be the entire ecosystem itself.

To that end, this piece in TNW hits on some parts of what I’m on about. In it, the author writes:

Just as Google had early dominance in lighting up a portion of the web, Facebook has early dominance in lighting up a portion of the world’s social graph. But much like the Dark Web, there exists network upon network not yet graphed by Facebook, waiting to be mapped, organized, and optimized for communication.

I agree, and think there are many, many new places to create value here.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

10 thoughts on “Watch This Space: The Next Generation of “Social Networks” Won’t Look Like Facebook.”

  1. I don’t disagree with you John, nor the author of the other article over at TNW. Facebook may be missing or lacking some things. Whether people get tired of it or not, remains to be seen. One thing that will be tough to beat, is how facebook has positioned themselves with the foundation they have set, primarily loyal users. Whether facebook has the ability to develop these pieces on their own, who knows. However, I can see facebook following Google, if they can’t do it, buy up the sites that can, and integrate them into their platform.

  2. [b]NATO is taking over command of military operations in Libya from coalition forces, world media reported Sunday.[/b]

    The UN Security Council imposed the no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, along with ordering “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on rebel-held towns.

    The 28 NATO ambassadors met on Sunday to decide on further military plans in Libya.

    The United States transfers command for a no-fly zone over Libya to NATO, while coalition forces will continue to protect civilian population from attacks by Gaddafi forces.

    The military operation in Libya, codenamed Odyssey Dawn, has been conducted so far jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France.

    NATO members decided on Thursday to assume responsibility for the enforcement of a no-fly zone in Libya, but could not agree on taking full command of all military operations in the country.

    Meanwhile, leaders of the 27 European Union states on Thursday issued a statement saying the EU stood ready to assist in building a new Libya “in cooperation with the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and others.”

    MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti)

  3. Падаль, не падаль, снова поморщился профессор, а маги были сильные и помогли мне в свое время здорово. Следить, конечно, приходилось, а то зарываться любили.
    Хорошо, кивнул ис Тормен. Итак, первое. Вы собрались воевать с противником, о котором ничего толком не знали. Может быть, ты знаешь общественное устройство ордена? Как они живут? Откуда берется все их невероятное богатство? Или ты узнал, кто такой Илар ран Дар и откуда он взялся? В чем корень его силы?
    Я Целитель Душ, улыбнувшись, пояснила Даша. Меня ни одно живое существо не боится, знает, что вреда я ему не причиню. Кроме, к сожалению, людей. И кстати, давай на «ты»! Честное слово, я отвыкла уже говорить на вы.
    Еще раз прошу прощения, развел руками Ваха. Вынужден вас покинуть, сами понимаете, служба.
    Тогда я отдаю приказ о десантировании, кивнул Рен.

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  4. Facebook and Google occupy different niches in this new landscape but leaving aside those specific entities for a moment…

    What can we say about the niches?


    And what is that?

    There is a simple truth underlying the health of any civilization…

    Its the DECISIONS its members make individually and collectively that determine its future well-being. All we see that is a civilization can be most fundamentally defined as a product of decisions: ideas + actions.

    Money is a technology… actually a very complex interacting collection of hard and soft technologies (a trading platform is hard tech; laws, regulation, design of oversight, etc. are soft tech)

    This has considerable import in considering the evolution of web capabilities.

    Decision Technologies: Currencies and the Social Contract

    (Money, along with advertising and torture devices are DECISION technologies… and operate at a very fundamental level to steer human decision. Viewing currencies in this light has utility.)


    I’m a designer…

    In trying in my long-winded and confusing way to explain a development I believe to be very important… the person I was speaking to summarized it better than I had:

    “Are you saying there needs to be a p2p network controlled by its users and not governments or corporations, and that transactions should be able to be made via this network with no transaction fee?”

    YES… I am!

    This is not in opposition to either private enterprise or government… but a suggestion that a new structure is necessary which is not exactly either.

    While my Commons-dedicated Account method… (and it IS a specific method)was originally conceived out of a desire to address issues in political fundraising and for the networking of very small contributions…


    AND can undercut PayPal and all similar while offering capabilities they cannot.

    I believe there’s a critical opportunity that won’t be open long… to at least begin to make changes in the structure of finance, money and credit-creation generally… to de-centralize at least a part of that process.

    And I’d like to suggest why a GENERAL UTILITY Internet Wallet under Commons control and ownership has a vital role to play in accomplishing those ends. Ends that may never be reached by request or accident at this stage… especially if they are dependent upon a positive response from a closed groupthink. They must be intentionally designed and implemented so as to be able to grow and compete naturally… and come into existence alongside (but not in direct confrontation with) existing structures. (in my opinion… which sorely needs feedback).

    The evolution of television provides an example of how a ‘hard’ technology… which COULD have done a lot more to open up politics, community, and civic life generally… has instead made politics ridiculously expensive… ALL because of the ‘soft’ technologies around it (first laws and regulation… finally simply cultural acceptance and forgetting)… ultimately becoming a sea of marketing to the ‘lizard brain’ and vastly INCREASING the cost of civic participation instead of reducing it.

    Here’s an old post of my own:

    Why Chagora back from (5/31/08)

    I’m naturally biased but think that’s worth thinking about… and maybe could even stimulate a question or two eventually. At least I hope so… for everyone’s sake. And I believe the tech sector should take an interest in its responsibilities in this new landscape.

  5. Facebook may be missing or lacking some things. Whether people get tired of it or not, remains to be seen. One thing that will be tough to beat, is how facebook has positioned themselves with the foundation they have set, primarily loyal users.

  6. Aloha All,

    Thank you for the more open view point. The fact is that there may never be an end-all network. But, there will be more and better ideas. New and different ways of thinking.

    Naturally, we will all choose favorites. Naturally some will be more successful than others. But, the real issue is how to use this revolution to make business more profitable for the little guys that built the countries of this world.

    The only problem, is also an opportunity. Too many networks, is really a greater opportunity to reach an ever growing number of niche markets. which is a good thing, because more, smaller niche markets works great for entrepreneurs.

    Little guys don’t need a market of a billion to win the day. Give a little guy a market of one million, wind him/her up, and watch them carve out a profit. The internet and social niches are making this easier than ever.

    So, stop with the economic blues, and the who’s who of social networks. Embrace it all, use it all, and force success upon yourself, with all the free tools each new service brings.

    Or, you can take the easy road, and use all the cool tools to manage multiple networks, from your JingleSPOT account, to build your own Global Business Marketing Platform.

    Aloha, and best wishes to all.

    Ambassador Rodgers,

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