Nikhil Kuruganti: Evolution of Social Networking Through Nikhil Kuruganti's Lens

Evolution of Social Networking Through Nikhil Kuruganti's Lens

Period One: Anyone and Everyone

Most people agree that the first large site deemed “social networking was Friendster. Friendster made the “friend of a friend system popular and introduced the world to the popular profile pages. During this early period of social networking sites were aimed at anyone and everyone.There were no restrictions on who could sign up and this meant you could come across profiles of a 16 year old high school student or a 40 year old Kmart manager. Friendster had its moments, but soon became a joke in terms of producing revenue. Not too much is heard about friendster today, but they cleared the way for hundreds of other social networking possibilities.

Period Two: Targeted Demographics

Social networking quickly became a little more selective. People soon figured out that users only want to connect with others similar to them. The most obvious site that capitalized on this concept was college social networking site Launched in early 2004, Facebook restricted access to those with a college .edu email address. Students soon found Facebook as a way to procrastinate their 10 page paper in exchange for seeing the latest on who was dating who in their network. Other sites like took on the business professional demographic and many other others such as, (no longer existent), and (no longer existent) attempted the college market as well.

Period Three: Subject Niches (Present Day)

Narrowing sites down to demographics soon evolved into orienting social networks around certain subjects. This is the stage to the opinion of this study, we are still in today.Sites such as focused on photos, on events, on videos, and also on events and venues. was an early adopter of the subject niche. They originally began as a social network revolving around bands and music. Myspace leveraged their substantial music user base and consistently added features to attract more users and keep the site new and fresh.

Period Four: Social Networking Goes Mobile

Its opined that we have started to transition into this phase but are not fully there yet. Early adopters, such as, have pioneered the way into the mobile social networking scene. Facebook and Myspace have also recently added mobile features to their sites.

Despite this, we will see another level to the mobile scene. The problem today is that mobile aspects of social networking require people to constantly send in text messages. This is not only costly, but requires way too much user participation. Two things need to happen for the mobile scene to explode. One, text messaging needs to become free like in Europe, and two GPS enabled cell phones need to reach critical mass.

Period Five: Bringing Them All Together

I still believe we are a year, possibly even more, away from this. One of the issues that the social networking scene will run into is that as more and more social networks are created, user participation will be diluted on any single network. People will get tired of going through the sign up, profile creation, and friend acquiring process. We are already seeing hints of this as a main reason why people do not want to sign up for new social networks even though they have better features and design over Myspace and Facebook.

As people have multiple social networking accounts the question will become how to tie all of them together? We suggest a one stop shop where they can easily receive updates from all of their networks. Other features may include automation of profile building and friend acquiring based on information from you other networks.The power of combining only a few of the major players such as Myspace, Facebook, Friendster, and Bebo would be pretty great.

But, the problem is that obvious decrease in traffic, and therefore revenue, for all of the various social networks. With large corporations such as NewsCorp running some of these networks you can fully expect hard resistance . As the number of sites that are included in this system reach a critical amount the big players will have a tough choice to face. Either lose traffic from people migrating to the new system, or lose traffic by participating in the system. The quote of Chester Bernard suits the situation the best, "This Internet evolution has become one of the most significant modern trends since it has affected the way in which we do business and communicate with peers.or group and persuade them to follow a particular course of action."

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