It seems lately (for the last six months or so) that I keep running into tech news about social networking sites. Myspace, Murdoch, Facebook, Zuckerberg. Trading soundbites and claiming that they’re hot and others are not. Myspace peaked, Facebook overtook, everyone’s wondering what’s around the corner or who will be next to take the social networking crown.
Is it just me, or does nobody quoted in this debate seem to understand the direction of technology? NOBODY will be next because fundamentally, the Internet doesn’t work that way. Scale-free networks don’t work that way.
Social networking sites at the moment are living in a thin stratum where “market share” still means something and decentralising technology hasn’t quite arrived to sweep everything out of the way with its long tail. But it will come. It’s being held back a bit right now by the lack of a common, interoperable browser development platform, but before too long, decentralisation and platform agnosticism will alter social networking the same way they’ve altered how we browse the web, how we get content, how we talk to each other.
This is the 21st century. There’s no such thing as brand loyalty when technology enables such huge coverage, filtering, and communication. We really are moving a bit closer to the Bitchun society and its Whuffie economy.