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Friday, November 12, 2010

Future of Social Networking Sites

Future social networking sites will become more important because platforms will expand further. “Killer apps” will include mobility, presence, and location awareness, with the goal of making your physical life more convenient through your virtual network; you’ll have a traveling social network in your back pocket. Not only will you be able to know which of the friends in your network is online, but you’ll also be able to know which are nearby. Cell tower triangulation and global positioning systems will be able to pass along your location to whomever you allow. Location-aware services could match local businesses and entertainment to your interests based on your profile. Business travelers could more easily rendezvous with coworkers and clients
at conferences and trade shows. The thrill of online dating could be heightened through the creation of location-specific communities, so you wouldn’t only meet someone online, but you could
also chat with a prospective mate in the same room. Social sites will also be smarter, mining user information across the web. Social bookmarking site functionality such as Digg will be married with social networks and enhanced with self-learning technology such as Pandora or StumbleUpon and tagging functionality
such as Flickr. The result is a more constant and refined stream of relevant information, which actually educates and informs the community in a much more efficient manner than occurs today.

From your iPhone, you’ll be able to get movie recommendations from those in your network. You’ll also be able to read reviews that your friends found helpful and find show times for the theaters in your vicinity, and then you’ll be able to check the location of your friends to determine how quickly they can meet you.

Sites will understand your interests based on your behavior: web sites you visit, articles you read, music you listen to, friends you chat with and what their interests are, for example. This information will be used to keep you current on changing events and to filter the noise that bombards users today. You’ll be left with a highly customized web experience that requires very little direct user input. Whereas Web 1.0 was driven by site administrators and Web 2.0 was driven by user-generated content, the future of social networking lies in user and content relationships augmentedby user behavior to tailor content.

Early incarnations of next-generation sites, called Social Networking3.0, may in fact be perceived as spooky in the level of accuracy of this “artificial intelligence.” Profiling takes on a different meaning in this realm, where the site can actually bring together users of similar interests. In some respects, compatibility profiling used by online dating services could be considered an early incarnationof creating social connections through online profiling,bringing compatible people together; but in Social Networking3.0 this concept is significantly expanded without the need to complete a lengthy questionnaire. Each time you click a link, rates blog, or chat on a specific subject, the site can gain intelligence about you to enhance your social network.Who will benefit from this explosion of information correlation?Of course, the user base is a driving factor, but others seek to benefit from this arrangement. Advertisers are drooling at the notion of higher conversion rates when marketing happens at the users’level based on their specific interests. More users will actually pay attention to the ads and take an interest in their content.

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