Read an interesting and through-provoking post titled 'The Next Twitter?' and realise more than ever the future of web is already about what comes next after Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster et al. Post-social?
For me the best place to look for the answer is to look at what happens around social. To use an analogy let's imagine that social networking sites are bars. We need to accept there are enough bars and the next plays will be in the associated services related to bars. Who makes money from people going out to bars? Food, travel, fashion, others? So three questions to consider might be:
What do social surfers consume?
How do social surfers move around the web?
How do social surfers express their sense of style online?
One might therefore propose that future new developments are not going to be mature (by web standards at least) spaces ie search, social etc. Rather future new developments on the scale of google, facebook, twitter are likely to be in relation to:
- consumption: content - Hulu? et al.
- travel: bookmarking - the longest-burning 'yet to pop' development of the last few years i.e. stumbleupon, yahoo/del.icio.us - digg and reddit are seemingly too gamed? social bookmarking just did not cross to mainstream yet and I have a feeling it will in the next 2-3 years.
- style: personal sites - I think we are going to see a burst of site-building apps as non-tech people start to want to drive stakes in the virtual ground creating their own hubs and stream aggregating spaces. A second wave of blogging & personal sites? Remember geocities - way too early. What about moonfruit, squarespace, blogger, typepad, wordpress et al?