Social networking and bookmarking tools have been growing since they hit the mainstream in 2005/2006. Nearly everybody uses Facebook, and mostly all activity is through smart phones similar to new T-Mobile Samsung phones. Those who don’t use Facebook, at least have a Facebook account. Webmasters are harnessing bookmarking technologies such as Digg.com which allow people to post links to their favourite pages. Tools such as Squidoo allow for the creation of micro sites that can be tied into larger sites or used as standalone portals. These have the added benefit of improving off-site SEO for their owners.
But where are social platforms going? There is only so much that can be done, surely? I think the future holds some very interesting developments for social tools.
We’ve already seen the publics’ obsession with Twitter – a tool that requires minimal effort, can be used for both good and evil and also goes a long way to polish the ego of whoever uses it. With developing technologies such as jQuery and to a lesser extent, AJAX, web applications are becoming super fluid and easy to use. After taking a look at the demo of Google Wave I think the browser will become the new desktop.
We will interact with everything from fewer places in the future. For example, taking a look at Google Wave reveals a shocking number of collaborative tools including a revolution in email and some insanely good blogging features. You can physically edit your Blogspot blog from Wave, which may make redundant the admin panel within Blogspot. As Wave is open source, similar tools may be developed for WordPress also.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Looking into this decade and mobile phones are going to become central to everything we do – that is if they aren’t already. The main stopping point at the moment is the lack of support for web technologies that most phones have, but the next generation of phones will support all the bells and whistles of the modern web application.
This is an exciting time for the development of the social web; a pioneering time. Things are becoming unified which is late coming but ultimately beneficial to all web users from businesses to teenagers on their social networking sites. Content will be shared, served and generated in a fast and intelligent way, which is a far cry from the bulletin boards of the late 90’s.
This post shows its age, now that we are in the mobile-social-cloud age. I really don’t know what to expect in 4 years from now, but I can safely admit I didn’t realize the real payload of social networks until recently. It’s not really a matter of how many people you connect with, but of how many people there guys are connected to. It grows exponentially, and we are all closer to our next employer, or client, or spouse.
Right now, all I can say is that we’r all wired, and message latency, that’s to say the time the message takes to be delivered, is shrinking while the audience is growing larger. Maybe it’s time to rethink web sites according to this faster (way faster) lifestyle.