Posted in News, Trends

The Future of Social Media: The Walls Come Crumbling Down

Social media venues and networking websites provide vast resources for individuals to connect and share personal, factual and fun information. However, many of these involved resources are locked away behind specific brands and companies (i.e. Facebook vs. MySpace). Here’s an interesting article that provides some insight into past and future trends regarding social networking barriers, and explores the new ‘Wave’ of communication Google is planning to unveil. Enjoy!

Posted by, Michael Martorella , Big Fuel Communications


By David Chartier | 06.02.09

The social web trend is more or less complete. Oprah’s gone Twitter, your co-worker has a MySpace problem, and if your parents aren’t bugging you with Facebook movie quiz invites, they probably will be by the time you’re done reading this. People are flocking to these sites in record numbers, as Facebook now boasts over 200 million users worldwide, and Twitter has grown 3,000 percent since last year. But for the social web to evolve into its final stage and take flight, the walls that separate these services, their users and everything they create will have to come down.

If you examine them closely, the social websites that are all the rage now have a strong family resemblance to the earliest internet giant, America Online. In the early ’90s AOL built a walled garden that functioned as the shallow end of the internet pool. People joined to get their feet wet, and then eventually abandoned AOL. The social web is the new walled garden: the photos we upload to Facebook, the 140-character messages we post to Twitter, and all of this other social activity is more or less locked away in those services. A friend cannot reply to your Twitter post without registering an account, and you are basically locked out of doing anything on Facebook unless you sign up. And it’s all-but-impossible to take all your stuff out of these services in order to switch to a competitor.

To be sure, authorized features like Facebook Connect allow users to share their activity from other services with their Facebook community, such as movie ratings at or high iPhone game scores. And there are also unauthorized tools that allow you to cross-post your content to multiple sites, but they are basically hacks, and they do not enable any of the real two-way interaction that defines the “social” web. In the words of Forrester Researcher Jeremiah Owyang, “the inhabitants of today’s isolated social networks will adopt a more useful social experience” by importing cool stuff from the wider web. But, he emphasizes, “they’ll still be stuck on those islands.”

Leo Laporte, a broadcaster who runs the popular TWiT network of technology podcasts, calls the phenomenon “the social silo,” and he doesn’t think it can last much longer. “People are pouring all this content and value into individual sites,” says Laporte, “but they aren’t going to want to keep dealing with Facebook, and Twitter, and FriendFeed, and whatever is next.” Laporte and Owyang agree that in order for the social web to move forward, the separate ecosystems which make it up need to unite.

Google has taken the first step toward knocking down the walls. Last week, the company announced, to great fanfare, something called Google Wave. It’s an open platform for real-time communication and sharing media, and it’s aimed directly at Facebook and Twitter. With Wave. any competent developer will have the tools build a Facebook or a Twitter — or more to the point, whatever comes next — and, even more important, any user content poured into a Wave-based system will be accessible by anyone that user has granted permission to have it. The philosophies of openness and accessibility are baked right in to the tool. If Wave turns into the tsunami that Google hopes it to be, then for the web of the future you will truly need only a single log-in.

The vision of a web where users are no longer locked up with their content away from others just because they picked a different social networking service, is a big one. “We’re essentially creating virtual reality, except that it’s more of an intellectual, informational reality,” Laporte muses. “It’s hard to imagine what this world will look like … but it’s really about breaking down barriers that, up ’till now, have been about the scarcity of resources and information. Now those are coming down.” 

Click here for the online article.



    Track comments via RSS 2.0 feed. Feel free to post the comment, or trackback from your web site.

    Currently there are no comments related to article "The Future of Social Media: The Walls Come Crumbling Down".


We Are... BIG FUEL

Hello! Big Fuel is a full-service marketing and communications company based in New York that takes brands from Content To Commerce. A unique approach that bridges "people stories" to "product stories" through social media and branded content.

Big Fuel is one part marketing agency, building brands through consumer insight; one part entertainment company, creating content that people love; and one part distribution company, driving guaranteed results by delivering content to targeted audiences. We work with major brands, leading agencies, publishers and platforms to help marketers achieve true consumer engagement.

test Latest from Twitter
Watch Videos