Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Networks - One Ring (or Circle) to rule them all?

I wonder what was said, when the world's second website was built?  Do you think that people said - "Whoa!  This second website has the blink tag.  The first website is way dead."  Or do you think people said - "Why would I need a second website when I already have this cool website that I visit?".

And then what did people think when - wait for it - the third website came along.  Or the fourth... or the billionth!?

It turns out that there was room on the web for lots of websites, and I suspect that it will be equally so for websites that have features which enable social interactions.

So why are people getting so excited that Google have added features which enable social interactions to their arsenal?  I believe that it would be less likely that large companies wouldn't be making investments in social (or mobile, or cloud).

People love taking the "this or that" approach when talking about websites.  Even more so when companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, and now Facebook and Twitter are involved.

I fully expect that even companies who have lagged in leading edge social upgrades - such as Microsoft - will surely venture further into this space.  And so too will others.  There's plenty of room.

I hear the argument made that, when a new social site comes on board that "Aargh, it's another social site that I have to check".  I think that's just a matter of perception and largely depends on what you are on the social network to do.

For me, I'm happy to keep my Facebook account if it allows me to communicate easily with the peer group that I am connected to there.  I'm happy to use LinkedIn to communicate ideas that are linked to my business groups, and I'm also happy to use Google, Microsoft, and any others to communicate with whatever groups form there too.  After all, at the end of the day, it's just another mobile app that I need to install, and there's no cost to me in doing that.

People need to face up to the fact that social is the new way that we connect and share ideas and information.  Who would honestly believe (or want) that this would all happen through a single provider.

Certainly not me.


  1. I completely agree Darren, having shared responsibilities of different social networks is key at the moment and your example of LinkedIn & facebook is an excellent example of that.

    What will be interesting to see moving forward is whether or not your and I might add people from our LinkedIn profiles to circles/groups within Google+ or facebook which would then allow circle/group specific sharing.

    I know that is one of the reasons I don't bother liking or interacting with my facebook account virtually at all online - I know a large percentage of my circle of friends couldn't give a damn that I like some amazing search engine or social bleeding edge tool.

    To some degree I don't use it because I feel as though I'd be spamming them with useless noise since I know that isn't the space their head is in; I suspect that a lot of other people are in a similar boat which is why having that separation currently with facebook/LinkedIn and others is actually useful.

    The question is, will we see convergence in the future?

  2. My guess is that new services and tools will come along that improve and fill the gaps... and that will feel like convergence.

    Google+, for me, has come in to fill an area of communicating that wasn't previously filled. That was an overlap of friends in my other social networks.

    So now I can create a new social interaction and sharing space on Google+ and train myself and those users how to interact there.