Monday, February 11, 2008

Social networking by Chris De Wolfe

CEO, co-founder MySpace
In only a few years, social networks have become a staple in the internet landscape as the social networking phenomenon allowed people to "put their lives online". A person's profile became a representation of who they really were in the offline world, and allowed them to transfer their offline world online.

More than ever, social networks are blurring online and offline worlds, evolving into social destinations that are driving the direction of the larger web and affecting industries like advertising, music and politics.

Predicting the future of social networks exclusively misses the larger point - these evolving online social destinations are laying the groundwork for the new social web which we believe is becoming infinitely more personal, more portable, and more collaborative.

First, as we expand these social destinations to all corners of the world, we must always think in terms of the individual. With millions of people using social websites, there's an increasing demand to make everyone's web experience personal. In the same way a home or office is your physical address, we expect your personal, online social profile to become your internet address. When I give out to friends and colleagues, everyone knows where to find me online.

We expect aspects of all socially-based sites to become increasingly portable. In terms of mobile, we expect to have relationships with every carrier and device-maker in the world and we expect that half of our future traffic will come from non-PC users.

Social activity is happening everywhere and we expect applications and features to be more fluid, based on the online population that want content where they want it, when they want it, and how they want it. Social activity should be portable and we expect the industry will continue to move in that direction.

Lastly, online social destinations work best when creativity and development are collaborative concepts. From personal profiles, to the widget economy, to the OpenSocial standard - the future of the social web will harness the savvy of the masses to produce more relevant and meaningful social experiences, ultimately pushing the larger industry to be more innovative and progressive.

Lowering the barrier to entry for a new generation of developers will lead to a more collaborative and dynamic web and directly affect the tools and feature sets available on socially-based sites. Supporting a more collaborative web creates a more global and participatory internet experience for everyone.

The evolution of social networks is kick-starting a broad global shift for how people, content and culture collide on the web. Right now we're looking at the tip of the iceberg for what the social web will look like in the future. Fundamentally, all social destinations must expand while staying personal, they must engage users while empowering portability, and they must work with up and coming innovators and major web leaders to both collaborate and contribute to the larger web community.

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