Social networks right now are huge. They’re everywhere, everyone is on them and there are some of them which are just starting out, going viral or becoming mainstream. And it seems that they’re here to stay, because we love to connect to other people, share and find interesting content. There is one part of previous sentence that (in my opinion) is overhyped – connecting with other people.
I believe that it’s not about those connections we make on the social network; it’s more about what we can do with these social connections. I mean, there has to be a purpose, a reason. That’s why we go out and spend time with others. We like to do stuff and talk about it.
And (again, this is my opinion which you can argue in comments) there always has been a very specific reason or unique feature for any social network’s success. For facebook (among other techniques they pioneered) it was photo sharing; for twitter it was the live & easy sms-like sharing; for foursquare it was the use of location & mobile; for Pinterest it was the the sharing of web visuals; for Instagram it was the mobile photo; etc. Some of these were better tools than the ones which existed before them, but others created completely new markets using new dimensions and resources.
Every mainstream social network has been a tool (or service if you would like). A useful, social tool. And every day a lot of people around the world are working on apps, services, web solutions and other imaginable and currently unimaginable things that will disrupt something that we know right now and look upon as today’s disruptors. When tools become social networks, they have to become tools again – or there will be others who will provide better tools than the ones we have right now.
By the way, we already have proof that this happens – Instagram was a threat to FB on mobile, FB killed MySpace and others. That’s why I believe that current market leaders have to invest vast amounts of resources in innovation – to be ready when they are hit by underdogs and (better) to create these new markets & tools by themselves to continue their dominance.
You don’t see a lot of horse dealerships around today, do you?
If you liked this, there is an article about the new look of Foursquare app which is based on this very same thought.