where next for Social Networking?

A new report by Research & Markets called ‘The Rise of Social Networking: Trends, Challenges and Strategies’ has been published.

One of the most interesting aspects concerning the current attention Facebook has received is the difference in take up of social networking sites on a country by country basis – particularly in Europe.

Whilst the UK leads the field with more than 1 in 3 internet users registering with Facebook, Germany and Italy are far behind. This makes blanket-wide social networking solutions for EMEA less useful than targeted national digital solutions.

On the back of this, Jeremiah Owyang has an interesting post in which he predicts what he believes is going to be happening in the social networking space soon:

  1. Facebook will launch an Identity widget that can be embeded on to any blog or webpage. This will allow only those who have registered on Facebook to leave a comment. Many high profile blogs will do this to avoid nasty anonymous comments. Here’s an example of a website that requires a Facebook login. It also highlights how Facebook Applications don’t need to sit inside Facebook – Thanks to Jay for the link.
  2. The data collected from these widgets enables Facebook to erode the small marketshare that Attention trackers and MyBlogLog are creating.
  3. Facebook will have faster adoption that Open ID, as the consumer users will drive it.
  4. MySpace will open their platform and enable development with their APIs, all in response to Facebook. Developers will have instances in both networks, and there will be many logins; Myspace, Facebook, and the applications themselves.
  5. White Label social networks will start to offer ability to share data with other networks. Some will never adopt this as their corporate clients want walled gardens around their brand. Additional thoughts by Marc Canter.
  6. Google Groups (SocialStream – demo & specific details – Just check out the makeup of the team!!) and others will launch next generation community sites. These won’t be the generic bulletin boards that we’re accustomed to, but will take shape as widgetized and customized communities, using APIs. More importantly, they will bring new ways to interact across networks. Google studied over 39 social networks and funded Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute research in this area.
  7. Christopher, at Slate magazine, thinks Facebook IS the platform. I happen to concur with Jeremiah Owyang that other platforms will evolve – as he comments, there’s too much at stake.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Brands work with Facebook. I haven’t seen all that much activity as yet. Apart from Redbull which was pointless marketing hype, there isn’t any advertiser which has truly tapped into the potential Facebook offers. MySpace seems to have been crawling with advertising and branded site pages for sometime now – to the detriment of its success.

    One social network cannot and will not be all things to all people, just as MySpace was and then wasn’t THE place to virtually hang out.


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