One ring to rule them all (Social Networks)

How Many Do You Recognize?

Pinterest is an Instagram shameless rip off.

Finally I received that long awaited Pinterest invite, being interested in social networks and building my small business around that I’ve been looking forward to knowing what the fuss is all about, Pinterest reached the user base required to become a social network in a record time, I just had to know what made it so successful in crossing that threshold that separate successful social networks from obscure forgotten ones. Once I logged in though I realized something, its not that much different from instagram, and it doesn’t do anything more than what Facebook can already does so well, so why would people seek out one of these hard to come by invites and join a whole new social network, and start building a new account to do something they were already able to?

Around 12 years ago, Instant Messaging was about the most social thing you could do online, there were all sorts of IM software, each a bit different yet all served a single function, connecting people together. Each person seemed to prefer a different IM software running on a different network, and as a result and to be in touch with you friend, you had to have 3 or 4 different IM applications running on your machine. Software such as trillian made things a bit easier allowing the user to use a single application to connect to all the available networks, still that meant you had to have and manage 4 or 5 accounts. Few years later companies started realizing that fact and they started making deals among themselves, allowing different networks to talk to one another (MSN/Yahoo), allowing people to have a single account that you can use to reach people regardless to the IM network they prefer. Synergy was achieved, people could focus less on the application and more on its function. This synergy was soon shattered with the emergence of social networks, and then regained as Facebook emerged as the winner of the battle of social networks, this delicate situation is currently being disturbed by new attempts to create a function centric social networks, instead of having a social network that does everything and has everything you need in one screen you have a set of websites, each doing a single thing…so we are back to exactly where we were 12 years ago.

The Social Plugins Box

You know that small box with buttons to allow you to share what you are reading with your friends, The social plugins box, currently any website has at least 3 buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Google+). I wonder how it’d look in 2 or 3 years, already there are new buttons showing up in that box, buttons that I can hardly recognize (just figured out Stumble Upon few days ago). If things go at the same pace that box is going to be even bigger than what you are trying to read.

The way out-I believe-is finding a common open source protocol for social networks to be able to talk to one another, sharing your data, instead of having to post it manually and moving back and forth between various social networks. I predict the emergence of that “one ring to rule them all” social network; A chameleon website that can be customized to either serve multiple functions like facebook, or a single highly specialized function such as Pinterest.



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