The social (meta) network
Fred Wilson at AVC has a good post about the role of MyBlogLog and Last.fm in enabling connections across social networks (though I think the former plays a more important role in doing so than the latter). As I’d discussed wrt to MyBlogLog back in October, I believe this is the future of social media.
There’s no reason that a given blogging platform or social network should live as an island unto itself and every reason to believe that creators and consumers will benefit from unique and compelling ways to enable connectivity across networks. In the comments to Fred’s post, Rod King uses the term “meta-social network” – a term I’ve also been using in relation to a new project and that I agree is inevitable.
The rise of social networks is undoubtedly the result of great tools that enable users to readily create an online presence and connect with others (in a far better fashion than, say, Geocities back in the day). As new ventures create best-of-class tools that facilitate creation and connection, I reckon that the value that users ascribe to the underlying networks could be diminished.
From a purely business perspective, I wonder what impact this will have on the underlying networks. Even a generic web hosting service needs to cover its costs; but could a low-cost provider with flexible customization and no/few (or perhaps just highly relevant) ads overcome user switching costs and steal market share from MySpace, Hi5, Bebo and Facebook?
These networks could presumably block services that compete with their own feature sets. But they would then risk user defection to the extent such features are “inferior” (in whatever sense) to companies that build a core competency around a particular way to create or connect.
I’m intrigued to see how all this will play out. Will users adopt services that play well with existing networks (they’ll have to be much better and probably viral to gain mindshare)? Will new, no-frills networks emerge that readily enable users to plug into myriad web services (I suppose WordPress.com is positioned to do this)? And how will this impact the ad-based business model of MySpace and the rest?
Filed under: ventures | 3 Comments