How to build a next generation social software website or social software 4.0? My musings on this one are as follows. Overarching principles will be localization, personalization and visualization.
- Social software is not only about communicating but more and more about content which stimulates the conversation, albeit music, video, games, books, podcasts, blog posts, website articles, IP TV streams etc.
- Social software will be more personalized than ever (deeper profile features, more multimedia options, more look and feel features)
- Social software will integrate benefits from recommendation engines and popularity metrics (both cosmetic as well as peer review systems for personality ratings as well as based on how many time a person has logged on in the social network as to create more lock-in). More on this one in my earlier post from March this year.
- Social software will displace some market economy based activites within a social environment (think craigslist)
- Social software will be the starting point for effective buzz marketing campaigns (think Gladwell) and the company behind the network will use the most active and most popular/networked members for marketing purposed while giving rewards in return (financial, extra services, more popularity, more input within every activity of open source marketing (think Generation C), prereleases of content of the advertisers, offline event privileges etc.). Localization, targeting and MoSoSo integration are logical next steps.
- Consumer social software networks will emulate some aspects from professional social software as more Internet users will become independently working
- Social software will migrate more and more towards the mobile space leading to a stronger integration of digital and real worlds. See my earlier post from March this year. The ultimate value of social software is primarily based in the real world and its actionability as well as immediacy.
In detail some ideas:
- The representation of your social network will be more visual and more like a brain-like processes as modelled by MIT. This means the strength or quality of relationships will be visually represented on one webpage, focusing on your most intense relationships at first. The current focus on quantity will be replaced by quality or intensity based on different communication tool logs and stated closeness by the respective friends. Think more like Visible Path. Within the visual representation each network member/close friend will be displayed with its core competence or positioning as to jumpstart active and efficient networking
- Extending the visual representation trend and referring to the thinking of Jaron Lanier on the book called Radical Evolution of Joel Garreau, I believe long term social software networks will enable the non-verbal communication from cuttlefish into the communication of members. Perhaps this the real move towards social software 4.0 in the end. See this article on cuttlefish. Research is substantiating this trend in my earlier post.
- All clickstream data about people will be opt-in based and segmented for each member in your network. The clickstream data will be more important over time. Who visited my profile? When? From where (mobile)? How often? Did they leave content? And did they visit specific members in my network? Some people like these data, some fear privacy concerns. It's all about permission based rules and granularity.
- Profiles will include ringtones, opening videos and advanced avatars besides pictures
- Members online in the network will show what they are doing right now (watching which IP TV shows, listening to what kind of music (see MSN Messenger) and reading which blog posts or articles)
- Mobile social software (MoSoSo) will give rise to leaving personalized content (video, audio, tags, pictures) as a present or gift when members of your social network come near a specific physical location. At Les Blogs 2.0 in Paris this week, I spoke to the LifeBlog expert of Nokia on this issue and he validated this idea as the way ahead. MoSoSo is about authenticity and sharing and less about commercial integration of advertisers, although the latter will be growing in terms of ideas stated above on buzz- and open source marketing and the rise of implicit and relevant product placements
Feedback is welcome...thanks in advance.