Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

social networking serviceAs an Internet native, you’ve probably thought something like this at some point recently: “What social networking service is worth putting my time into? What will still be around by the end of next year?”. It’s often a big decision.

Maybe you spent ages deciding whether to go iPhone or Android; Perhaps you’re looking into subscriptions or paid applications; Maybe you just can’t decide which website to use to keep track of your movie watching habits.

Whatever your decision, it’s worth having a little more than gut feeling to go on.


So I’ve analysed the sorts of things people will be looking to do and the sorts of developers who seem to be both using open data and sharing their API where possible, while simultaneously adapting quickly to consumer needs. These are the players on tomorrow’s field.

1. Smartphone: Android

If you want to know which flavour of smartphone has the brightest future: it’s Android Do You Prefer The iPhone or Android? [MakeUseOf Poll] Do You Prefer The iPhone or Android? [MakeUseOf Poll] Read More . Apple might make great stuff which just works, but they are busy locking things to their requirements while Android is busy allowing as much as possible.

Ads by Google

Check out some great Android sites here:

2. Chat: Multi-Purpose Client

Skype will hold out on its own for a while, purely because other applications can’t access it. Ultimately though, the multi-purpose applications Multi Protocol Instant Messaging Clients Multi Protocol Instant Messaging Clients Read More like Adium, Trillian and Meebo will win this race. It’s all about easily contacting people, wherever they happen to hang out. The best tool keeps you connected to the most people you like.

social networking service

3. General Social Networks: Multi-Purpose Clients

For the moment, Facebook & Twitter will reign in their own separate ways. But in the end, the clear winner will be the network which best lets you use and share data from whichever social networks you wish to associate with and whoever is on those networks.

This means the future lies with the Tweetdecks Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Read More and Seesmic Seesmic Look: A New Free Twitter Client For The Non-Geek [Windows] Seesmic Look: A New Free Twitter Client For The Non-Geek [Windows] Read More ‘s of the world. Whichever developer can combine your multi-service updates, multi-service friend updates with a multi-service profile (like FriendFeed 9 Steps To A Great Start In Friendfeed 9 Steps To A Great Start In Friendfeed Read More , Soup or something using widgets well) will ultimately win over any individual network. If it can combine multi-service chat too, it will be a winner for sure.

4. Online Collections & Specialised Networks: Open Data Applications

There’s a massive amount of specialised social networks online, many of which also double as a profile to display some sort of collection you own or like: books you like; movies you own; your exercise history. Without doubt, the specialised networks that will do best will be the ones which have their own thriving community and internal communication.

However, to build that community and make it easier on their users, the better networks will offer to update user data from more general social networks, send data back out as RSS or directly to other general networks, offer widgets and make available the API to use their data. They’ll try to use open-source databases for managing their collections if possible. They’ll also do their best to make your interaction with this network easy from a smartphone.

social networking software

Good examples of niche networks and collection managers:

5. Smartphone Applications: Interactivity Within Apps

Interactivity in applications means many things, but most importantly it’s about the applications being aware of other related applications and events, then behaving appropriately.

It shouldn’t be hard to access applications either. Users shouldn’t need to wade through piles of applications alphabetically: they should be able to indicate they want music and get pointed in the direction of the installed apps that will provide it. Until Android/iPhone and the apps work together to make something like this work, there’s apps that will help you to make sense of your apps.

I’d love it if I were standing under the Eiffel Tower, pulled out my phone and it said “Location: Eiffel Tower. Info? Share?” then allowed me to quickly get information from any of my location-aware or information-rich applications or share my location through an update or a check-in. The phone software would need to know the semantics of the applications, in the same way that when you share a picture it is able to suggest a method of sharing.

Applications which interact with information on a social network are also accessible online. Believe it or not, there are social networks out there which are not accessible via anything but your phone application. A good network will allow as many forms of interaction as possible, not limit it!

Then there’s interactivity between applications. For instance, an application which can scrobble tracks to Last.fm from almost any music player, or an alarm clock application which offers to start any music application when it goes off.

social networking service

All Of The Above

Imagine if Meebo, Tweetdeck Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Read More , FriendFeed 9 Steps To A Great Start In Friendfeed 9 Steps To A Great Start In Friendfeed Read More , Foursquare Check In & Become Mayor of Your Favorite Venues With Foursquare Check In & Become Mayor of Your Favorite Venues With Foursquare Read More , Google Contacts and Google Profiles 6 Best Profiles for Listing Your Social Networks 6 Best Profiles for Listing Your Social Networks Read More got together, added a bunch of widgets from your other profiles and offered a great smartphone app. Here lies the answer to the ultimate social network: It’s everything working together.

In the end, wherever you’re making noise, it’s not social unless that noise gets to someone. If it’s not easy to share information, people won’t. If you join a new social network, there should be interactions with other members of the social network and/or information getting back to your real friends, wherever they happen to be contactable. Talking to yourself is not social: talking to your partner is social; talking on the phone is social; recording your voice for a podcast is social (as long as someone listens). Social networks online will either keep this in mind or fall into obscurity.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  1. Angela Alcorn
    November 12, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Adium or Meebo for chat (depending on where I am / what device I'm using). Twitter/Facebook I use different things for different devices: Original websites, Tweetdeck, FireStatus, HTC Peep, Seesmic, (plus Socialoomph/Twitterfeed for a few things). Gmail gCal/Google Docs/RTM are vital. Delicious for link organisation (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/d... Plus, many other tools for other things. Netvibes to tie it all back together (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/m...

  2. Will Radie
    November 11, 2010 at 5:48 am

    What is your "set up" currently?

    I use Digsby for IM/Chat, HootSuite for Twitter, Evernote, LastPass, and am honestly considering using StumbleUpon for all my bookmarking stuff.

  3. Angela Alcorn
    November 10, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Yeah, I'm always searching for it too. I really hope someone is making something like this. *waits* (Oh, and *hint* *hint* geek entrepreneurs out there!)

    PS. The second I hear of one I'll make sure MakeUseOf readers know about it. Promise. :)

  4. Will Radie
    November 10, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Everyday I check MakeUseOf, I hope there is a web app just like the "perfect" one described.... One day.. one day...

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 10, 2010 at 6:44 am

      Yeah, I'm always searching for it too. I really hope someone is making something like this. *waits* (Oh, and *hint* *hint* geek entrepreneurs out there!)

      PS. The second I hear of one I'll make sure MakeUseOf readers know about it. Promise. :)

      • Will Radie
        November 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

        What is your "set up" currently?

        I use Digsby for IM/Chat, HootSuite for Twitter, Evernote, LastPass, and am honestly considering using StumbleUpon for all my bookmarking stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *