I was a little in a hurry in my previous post. In this post I argue that, despite what we are meant to believe, the Internet does not evolve around you. Perhaps services like Facebook, MySpace, but also the latest in social networks pagii give the user the feeling that he or she is the one that it is all about. Each of these services rely on you setting up and sharing a personal profile, the value for the company of course being the network that evolves. But where is the true value for me as a user?
Yes, I have all these cool applications and extensions to set up a great profile. These extensions allow met to do things I can’t do by myself (no publishing talent). So great effort goes in to the design of my profile, and then the setting up and inviting of as many friends as possible. There are many great tools out there to make a great profile (note my earlier post on rock you for example).
Notice that I haven’t mentioned any true value that I have gotten from all these efforts. As it turns out, the value I receive back from these services is relatively low. My friends seem to put more effort in the design of their profiles than in true interaction. Sometimes having interaction with a previously unknown person might provide some satisfaction, but I tend to measure and value these services on the interaction with people I know really well, and we seem to interact much more using 1-1 communications services like physical get togethers, mobile calls , SMS, e-mail, IM, Skype (maybe I have the wrong type of friends?).
Right now, social networks are much more publishing than interaction tools. There is nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. Looking at the growth of the number of users in such applications it really fills in a need for millions of people. But, at the same time, relative few of the publishers out there really create new content. Most use the basics to get started, and then quickly become readers, instead of publishers, turning the Internet into a very large TV space. Wasn’t that a pre-web 2.0 service, broadcast?
I think that when all of the dust of web 2.0 settles we might see some new initiatives rise that will help all those millions of publishers out there to start interacting with all sorts of methods. not justy publishing, but interacting. Sharing their lives, important happenings, emotions, conversations. mabe there are already a few out there, can you point them out?
I saw a nice quote this morning on Rolf Skyberg his site.
“Unfortunately, Facebook has wandered into familiar territory of social networking by imagining (hoping) that the value is in the network, and not what you get out of the network. This is an easy mistake to make, because nobody wants to believe that their tool is only something you use to get something else done.” For the rest of this article by Rolf look at:
The company that understands that best will ensure that what you get out of the network is just as important as what you put into it. Call it web 3.0, I would call it true interaction.
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Thanks for your comment AnaCaz. I’m curious to hear if you have thought of ways of actually improving the interaction between friends using these tools?
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Om Malik just published a nice article in which he asks himself if e-mail could be the ultimate social environment( see http://gigaom.com/2007/09/20/is-email-the-ultimate-social-environment).
Ties in nicely with the things written in this post.
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