There’s been plenty of debate about whether Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is losing users, especially among teenagers. One author says it appears that original members from the last 10 years “appear to be leaving in droves” as people discover that there isn’t just one social network which serves all of their needs.
Writing on The Next Web, IM Creator and AppSite founder Jonathan Saragossi has some suggestions for what the next-generation social network should look like. If you ask me, a couple of these things sound like what Google+ already does or what Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) probably has the framework to do in the near future.
Facebook must reinvent itself
Saragossi notes that every time there’s a new product, it has a natural life cycle and will eventually die, “unless it somehow becomes a living organism with its own reproductive system and evolution.” He suggests that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is at a critical stage right now and that it must reinvent itself because people just don’t want to use the same social network their parents or grandparents do.
So what would he put into a social network that has it all? Here are some of his suggestions.
The next Facebook should offer multiple sides
Right now the three major social networks: Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) each have their own personality. Facebook is the place for more social pursuits, while LinkedIn is the place for business networking. Twitter involves more minute-by-minute commentary than the other too.
Most people who use all three display different sides of their personality on each of them. LinkedIn is the place to be very business-like and professional, while Facebook is the place where people sometimes let loose a little. Twitter is more public than the other two, so that’s yet another story entirely.
Google+ may be on to something
Saragossi wants to see one social network where it’s alright to be all of these things at the same time. He even suggests users could create different identities on this same social network, but to me, that sounds just as complicated as using three different ones for three different sides of me. One thing that’s interesting about Google+ in this respect is how you can put people into different circles.
You have one circle for your business contacts, another for friends and family and another for people who don’t really know you but want to follow you for some reason, like if you post links to content frequently, like I do. You get to choose which contacts see which part of what you post, so to me, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s already got the solution to this one in place. Unfortunately, however, Google+ has yet to really catch on.
Making local recommendations
One place Google also has a leg up over Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is in the area of localized recommendations. Saragossi would like to see more information and recommendations based on his location. Google already provides local suggestions based on your Google searches, so all the company would need to do is take this feature over to Google+.
The author goes a step further though and uses the idea of dancing next to a girl at a concert and being able to send her a picture “to break the ice.” This just sounds a little too much like Big Brother, to me. Do we really want our social network to know who we are standing next to at a concert? It already knows where we are, but then to go a step further and pinpoint your location even more exactly. It’s probably the future, but it creeps me out.
Ownership and income
He would also like to see the next Facebook “decentralized” so that he isn’t facebook.com/Jonathan. He likes the way Tumblr does this part of it. I’ve never messed with Tumblr myself.
This next idea I find especially interesting. He suggests that we should be able to make money off of the content we post. Facebook got a lot of flak for using people’s names and information for its Sponsored Stories campaign without paying them. He thinks the next-generation social network should “share profits” with those who create the content which earns money. This would be an interesting idea if a social network would be able and willing to implement it.