The theory of the Centripetal Internet - Social Networks : One Ring to Rule them All ?

In the earlier posts of the "Theory of the Centripetal Internet" series, I made it clear that :

  1. Whatever the potential globalizing power of the social tools and the Web in general, the Internet is reflecting our society and habits : The Web is more local than global (Centripetal in other big words :) )
  2. Moreover, this reality among people's use of the web has resulted in a trend inside the web itself. Websites are serving us more of what we want to see : Not only is it local, the Web is becoming more and more personal (to such an extent that websites will end up knowing us better than we do)
  3. Where do you go from here ?

As most of you I'm sure, I believe Facebook IS the name of the game for the moment. But for how long ?

Not too long now I believe. I mean consider how absurd it is :

  1. That you have ONE network for all your social circles (family, friends both the study kind and the party-crazy kind, work colleagues, people with whom you share interests).
  2. With ALL of whom you share ALL of your interests (technology, music, work, what you wrote, who you're dating ...).
  3. Is there anything more inefficient than sharing so broadly when you know that only a bunch of persons in your network will be interested and may react to your post (the geeky friends commenting on a tech post) but probably won't because EVERYBODY else can see it and pitch in with less relevant comments

And NO, Facebook groups isn't solving the issue ! So no Frodo, your sad eyes won't change anything to it : One Ring WON'T rule them all

Because as Mark Suster points out, every one of your statuses is destined to a given group :

Focus is key to Efficiency : Hitting the most relevant group is vital to spread your message. Hence behold the future :

"Situationist' is an Iphone app for complete strangers to meet through random, personal acts. So for example :

  • You log in and put "High Five me"
  • A moderator makes sure it's not something like "Spank me with a leather glove" and allows it to go online
  • Some other "Situationist" logs in and sees where you are relative to him
  • He decides to meet you, recognizes you from your picture
  • And actually high five-s you !

So the idea here is a mix of foursquare and "Improv anywhere" as John Pavlus points out. But the important thing is the presence of a moderator : The moderator makes the group more exclusive. He limits it to the artsy, improvisation fans and keeps the rest out, in a way. So it's as if "Situationist" created a smaller social circle for these risk-taking, break-the-day's-routine people : it's more exclusive.

EXCLUSIVE. That's the world, that's why Facebook will lose its steam or at least why others will we able to compete. Because Facebook lost its niche by going mainstream and leaving exclusivity.

So the new trend will see the rise of "true" social networks revolving around specific areas :

  • Jumo for social issues
  • Quora for (let's be honest) rather nerdy/techy/geeky questions
  • LinkedIn for professional purposes
  • I'd add Farmville for farm fanatics :)

But the truth is this list is VERY long. The trend IS already here. If it hasn't shown clearly, except for those I gave as an example, it's because typically, when people group by passion, interest or specific ties, critical mass takes more time to be reached. But there is no doubt that "True" Social Networks are the future.