The Future of Social Networking

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This is the guest lecture I gave at Singularity University on June 28, 2012 on the topic "The Future of Social Networking". It covers a high level review of the history of social networking, what differentiates it as a disruptive platform, and ideas for how mobile will accelerate it as a disruptive platform in the future.

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  • The Future of Social Networking

    1. 1. The Future of Social Networking
    2. 2. The Future of Social Networking Adam Nash Executive in Residence, Greylock Partners June 28, 2012
    3. 3. Where to begin...
    4. 4. A little about my background (and bias)Education in Computer Science, focus on Human Computer InteractionMost recently Vice President, Product Management at LinkedInLed efforts around:• User Experience• Growth• Search• Mobile• Platform• HackdaysHeavy bias towards social networking & mobile platforms
    5. 5. Precursors to Social NetworksWide variety of relevant / related products• Email• Addressbooks• IM / Chat• Discussion boards• Photosharing• Online identitiesWhat is unique about the modern social networking platforms?How did we get from there to here?
    6. 6. Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0Web 1.0 introduced a massive, disruptive platform• Open standards for content definition and transmission• Centralized software deployment (versioning, configuration,specialization)• Massive resource scalability• Massive conversion of PC clients to networked clientsTwo significant weaknesses for operational / economic scalability• Content generation• User acquisitionWeb 2.0 added two disruptions to the platform• User generated content• Viral social distribution
    7. 7. Social networking is a massive, disruptive platform Disruption is enabled when something extremely powerful and valuablegoes from being expensive & scarce to being inexpensive & abundant People are (currently) the most interesting & valuable elements of humaninteraction. Fundamental changes from precursors • People are first class entities • Profile data is user-generated content • People & Relationships rationalized in the cloud into single graph Social networking platforms make information about people inexpensive& abundant • Data about who a person is • Data about who they know
    8. 8. Three pillars of social networking systems An identity only has value if the human behind it cares about it. Relationships are a fundamental component of communication & relevance. There must be a flow of activity between the identities and across the relationships thatIdentity Relationships Activity justifies, maintains & magnifies their value.
    9. 9. The platforms work because we care
    10. 10. LinkedIn as a Platform Jobs Advertising Subscriptions ... (Hiring Sols) (Marketing Sols) (Freemium) UsersPlatform Technology Content Activity 10
    11. 11. What’s Next? We have gone from platforms that can reach tens of millions of people toplatforms that can reach billions of people. At this same instant in history, we now have two billion-personplatforms: social networks & mobile devices (“gigapeople?”) Distribution scale & velocity is unprecedented Costs of providing a service that reaches 100 million+ users and getting100 million+ users on that service are orders of magnitude lower than justfive years ago. • LinkedIn took 494 days to hit 1 million users • Instagram took 76 days to hit 1 million users • ... they had 1M downloads in 24 hours after launching on Android
    12. 12. Mobile is the ultimate social enabler It’s a personal, sensor-enabled device 91% of people with smartphones in the US keep it within 3 feet at alltimes They are tactile, touch-based devices. We are wired to love them. They are communication devices & know who we care about, how often,how recently We don’t have a crystal in everyone’s ear (yet), but we’ve got a roughapproximation.
    13. 13. What is now becoming abundant & effectively free Ability to process & manipulateabsolutely massive data sets in realtime Ubiquitous location for people What people are thinking and/ordoing Emotion & passion
    14. 14. Don’t be anti-social Adam Nashhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/adamnash @adamnash 14

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