Do I see a new network right now? Well no. So let’s start by heading back in time to 2008.
A different social media age
I logged in yesterday to Friendfeed. It had been a while. Friendfeed is still up and some still log in. Friendfeed of course had its hay day back in 2008. I was an active user, an active blogger and unofficial proponent of the Facebook killer life streaming social network that was rolling out enhancements so fast that Facebook could not help but to buy the site for the development team. So here we are in 2014 and all of the good features that made it so innovative have long ago been gobbled up by the behemoth that is Facebook.
Early Adoption is dead
The web culture is has invaded every part of daily lives as every start-up wishes to combine the non-digital with the digital life. It’s not a bad thing as we refill prescriptions on the web, we make appointments, pay bills, shop for media, shop for groceries, shop for cars, and simply do life digitally (mobile or otherwise).
As a self declared early adopter I was early to gmail, early to FriendFeed, early to many, many other web apps that have since gone away. But because of this digital culture everyone is into social media. Grandparents and great grandparents are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They share, they re-tweet, and consume the same over abundance of content that the rest of us do.
More and more this web culture means that people aren’t afraid to register for a new service and give the new site a try. It seems to be a badge of honor for the young. Instead of saying, ‘hey did you check out this movie last weekend?” They say, “hey have you tried that new app?” or “there’s a great new web site you should check out.” The digital life is an integral part of pop culture and more simply put a part of a real modern life.
A tidal wave of data
Back during the age of FriendFeed one subject that was often discussed was cutting through the noise. FriendFeed, in my opinion, attempted to remedy the problems of the deluge of data by integrating search, implementing a smart news feed, assisting in content discovery and displaying real-time results and updates from outside sources.
Here we are in 2014 and this is still a problem. Facebook, as I mentioned, long ago has implemented these FriendFeed strategies and expounded upon them. But the problem remains. How do we cut through not just a fire hose of data but a 100 foot tidal wave? It’s a tidal wave that contains lots of garbage and we want the treasure, the good that is masked and hidden in the sea of unimportant.
So despite the overwhelming money and might of Facebook and the popularity of twitter a noise problem remains that still only seems to be getting worse. I have a real life friend who has over 1500 Facebook friends. Every week I follow a new Twitter account. How do we cull? How do we see in this data abyss?
There are many examples already in this relatively short digital age of the power of the 13 year old. And the teenager will lead them. And the tween is right behind. The sphere of influence of the next generation must never be overlooked. They only know digital life.
Friendster, myspace, and Snapchat to name a few are examples of apps and services that begin with a mostly younger audience. The inroads to Facebook’s market share and beginnings of a new network’s adoption start with young people and I believe end with innovation.
A new hope
The hope for my ideal social network would balance crazy fast innovation across OS and device with a cult like grassroots following by the 13-34 demo. The new network would then dodge the billion dollar valuations from Google and Facebook and then take market share like breaths of air.
The new one would integrate voice, text, and video and take input from the other big 3. The algorithm to rule them all would cut the noise as a hot knife through
The product would be simple for those that want simple but complex and precise for those that demand it.
Great content, important content would float like a buoy to the top of the cluttered content sea. Content discovery would also be important too as we are shown what we need before we know we need it.
So as I peer out in the digital sea, I see no ship on the horizon but that’s ok. Our digital lives are consuming. The waves are getting higher and I am ready for a lifeboat.
I certainly will not be the first to spot it but I will know when it arrives. In the meantime I will dream of FriendFeed.