Will Facebook Rule the Future of Social?

Facebook KingFacebook is very powerful right now, pervading our everyday lives and businesses. And they have no intention of stopping. While not as acquisition-hungry as Google, which has a reputation for buying up every great small business in sight, Facebook is expanding scope like hotcakes. Places, Deals, Marketplace, Photo Recognition, Questions, Games, Groups, Mobile…the list of Facebook products grows everyday.

So my question stands:  Will Facebook rule the future of social?

No, I don’t think so. Facebook, while omnipresent, is not currently based in natural human exchange. Pokes, wall posts and events are digital abstractions of real dialog. The future of social will be…more social.

Facebook is a closed social graph. And by that, I mean it’s A) restricted to the people you “friend,” B) restricted to the people signed up on Facebook and C) restricted to active device users. This type of social network is limiting and far too much effort. Worse, it’s not human. In real life, we meet people and they become acquaintances. We spend more time with people and they become our friends (or enemies). There is no mutual contract, no “friend” button. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson touches on the unnatural effort involved in curating your various network lists when he forecasts the Implicit Social Graph.

Social technology will evolve. I predict that a platform with the most open, implicit social graph and a passive user experience that promotes true human interaction by keeping your phone in your pocket will take the cake as social media king. Facebook is not situated, nor was it founded, to promote such an organic vision.

What do you predict? Do you think Facebook is an unstoppable behemoth or will the value of real life ultimately take it down?

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Imperial Crown (Heraldry) vector art via Wikimedia Commons.

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