Web Strategy Predictions: Facebook, Identity, Social Networks

I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks there are a few thing that are going to be happening in the social networking space.

Here’s a few predictions how the Social Networking sites will evolve:

-Facebook will launch an Identity widget that I can embed on my blog. This allows only those who have registered to Facebook to leave a comment, many high profile blogs will do this, to avoid nasty anonymous comments, thus reducing the incident of Kathy Sierra type events. Dave Winer is right. Update: here’s an example of a website that requires a Facebook login to access. Link from Jay.

-The data collected from these widgets ables Facebook to erode the small marketshare that Attention trackers and MyBlogLog are creating.

-Facebook will have faster adoption that Open ID, as the consumer users will drive it. (Remember the mantra of consider joining before creating communities)

-MySpace will open their platform and enable development with their APIs, all in response to Facebook. Developers will have instances in both networks, and there will be many logins; Myspace, Facebook, and the applications themselves.

-White Label social networks (the master list I started some time ago) will start to offer ability to share data with other networks. Some will never adopt this as their corporate clients want walled gardens around their brand. Additional thoughts by Marc Canter.

-Google Groups and Yahoo groups will launch next generation community sites, these won’t be the generic bulletin boards that we’re accustomed to, but will take shape as widgetized and customized communities, using APIs.

-LinkedIn, Plaxo and other social networks will catch on a bit later, and deploy APIs. While some of these networks appear to be threats at first, the ability to expand into new communities greatly helps them. Last night over dinner in Singapore, I learned there is greater adoption of tools like xing (I think that’s what they said) in Europe and Asia.

-AOL finally catches on an releases APIs for it’s massive online community that’s existed for many years. It takes a long time to educate and convince the internal powers that be to do this, ROI is never fully measured.

-Facebook’s identity system continues to grow, it shares data with those that have used the widget, users, and of course marketers.

I’ve been talking about the web being amorphous and ubiquitous since 2005, I think we’ll start to see elements of this in 2007.

All of the above are just my theories, I’d love to hear what you think.

Update: Interesting, Christopher at Slate suggests that Facebook could become THE platform, while I suggest others will evolve and play in this space, there’s too much at stake really.

  • http://thedigitalmovement.org Ming Yeow

    Hi Jeremiah, you spoke about Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, and I thought it would be good to draw your attention to a couple of alternative social networks aiming to build networks in very different ways.

    An interesting example that takes the strength of your relationships into account when constructing your social network is Visible Path. Essentially, you can only add someone into your network only if there has been an email exchange, and within the network, the relationship is measured by the number and frequency of email exchanges. With an outlook plugin, they track the rise and wan as well.

    Another interesting example of a social network is illumio. What it does is that it scans your PC for documents, and based on those documents, decide what you are interested in. They will recommend who you should get in touch with, and when you ask a question into the Illumio, they will in turn send it to the people they think would have the answer. Of couse, you can form groups too

    I do not think either works particularly well, because we still have to install some form of outlook/PC plugin for them to be able to accurately “predict” things. But moving forward, I think someone like Google might allow users to “opt-in” to form such a powerful social network. They already have everything they need to know about me to form a very very effective network of trusted links and accurate interests. Scary but exciting. That would be my own prediction.

    Also, carrying on our conversation, Xing is still much smaller than LinkedIn, but they grew faster than LinkedIn in their home country of Germany, and matching LinkedIn in terms of growth in Europe over the last couple of years, although LinkedIn still has the headstart. They have an interesting expansion strategy via partnerships n accquisitions in selected markets though. Also, their conversion rate is 17%, which certainly sounds pretty high to me.

    I made a mistake – Do not think Xing is bigger in Asia than LinkedIn. They have traction, but still smaller. And check out these international linkedIn(s), all localized:

    vnspoke.com, iconnecte.com, wealink.com, MoiKrug.ru

  • http://www.socialmediasquad.com Kin Lane

    I agree that a ubiquitous web will start appearing in 2007. This is the year.

    I don’t think MySpace will get with the program, I don’t think Rupert Murdoch or his team will be nimble enough to implement. It is just a cash cow to him.

    I agree with everything else you state, though I think facebook will not continue to shine, other players will innovate and lead soon enough.

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  • http://thedigitalmovement.org Ming Yeow

    One other thing that we spoke about. I suspect it is not the main social networks like Facebook that will adopt universal ID systems, but rather the long tail of social networks, perhaps best typified by the informal social networks of the many different wikis around. These are the ones without the critical mass of networks like Facebook, and hence will definitely benefit from having a universal ID that can be used across all of them.

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks Ming Yeow for these interesting thoughts, there’s so many social networks out there, it’s really hard to keep track. That’s why users should be free to navigate from one community to the next, that’s why open identity systems matter.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Kin Lane,

    I think we’ll start to see it happen this year, but full adoption will take time!

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  • http://www.reputrack.com Joseph

    No doubt, the Facebook Platforms been all the rage since its release. And with this platform, Facebook appears to have positioned itself as the social networking successor.

    The “digital wallet” thing is definitely a good thing to keep fake ID’s and outlaws from subverting the online media. I’m sure it can gain some steam if its delivered initially from within Facebook, but its long-term success needs to hinge on being interchangeable and mobile to take along as backpack our way through the Web.

    Having come from MySpace, I can immediately identify with a site where the user has access to alter the html on their profile pages. MySpace allowed us to have a look at what the Web could be like if enough regular folks had a willingness to learn some basic code.

    Facebook seems to have gone in a completely different direction, and looked instead at giving that kind of leeway and control only to developers, and those who are willing to invest their time and smarts to become a symbiont with a chance at cashing in on Facebooks current success.

    According to some, its the kind of relationship which could find a few symbionts feeling a little disappointed.

  • http://www.reputrack.com Joseph

    …here is the correct “feeling a little disappointed” link.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks Joseph

    This will make my link blog

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  • http://www.unodewaal.com/2007/06/10/facebook-is-the-now-the-new-openid/ Uno de Waal

    Great post Jeremiah.
    I’m not sure how I missed this, but I only came across it now.
    I wrote about OpenID and Facebook a while back as well, and I agree with your thoughts that Facebook will have faster Identity 2.0 adoption than OpenID. OpenID is somehow still too complex for the average webuser.

    Although I’d like to see OpenID come up trumps, I think it will be the platform that appeals to the lowest common denominator. Facebook in this case.

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  • http://janrain.com/blog/2007/07/24/will-the-real-single-sign-on-solution-please-stand-up/ Kevin Fox

    [...]The momentum of OpenID and fact that Facebook is working with Open Source companies like Six Apart certainly makes it plausible we could see Facebook support OpenID in the future. Ideally we would like to see all platforms support OpenID authentication at some point. [...]

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