Social Networking

Past, Present, Future
Mark Suster Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum October 9, 2010 @msuster

Where Did Social Networking Start?

In our debates we tend to focus too much on technology

It·s about shared experiences & we·ve replicated this online

It·s about meeting people & communicated with those we know

Online social networks mirror offline lives

It·s about the 6 C·s 
Communications  Connectedness  Common Experience  Content  Commerce  Cool Experiences (ok, entertainment ;-)

It·s why Becomes

It·s why Becomes

Pre Internet had social networks

Pre Internet had social networks

Anyone around then will know what one of these was

AOL bridges gap between pre-Internet & Internet

People advertised ´AOL Keywordsµ not websites

AOL Keyword: Swordfish

Web 1.0 made it easier to have personal pages on ´the webµ (e.g. not AOL)

And ´groupsµ have been around for ages 

Mothers· clubs  Church groups  Education

Social networks have been around for a long time. 
Usability is better.  3rd-party platforms.  More people are connected.

But same old shit.

And then spam-based social networks began

Mostly for professional use / older demo

And it was really about extending your network

Web 2.0 was born and we evolved online social expression

Web 2.0 was born - social contribution
Blogging Photos Video

Web 2.0 went social - skewed back to youth

Facebook launched. Was exclusive 

Up market  University  Exclusive  Urban elite  Clean  Ad free  Verified 

Teenage  Middle America  Scantily Dressed  Design chaos  Ads galore  Not verified

It started as .edu

And they captured the tech elite

They each captured 100m users, who increasingly wanted to share photos / video

MySpace Bought PhotoBucket & Google Bought YouTube

And MySpace declared war on developers

And this guy (22) Schooled this guy (75)

He understood software business was different than media business

Within a SINGLE YEAR the game was over

And Facebook went mainstream

And then some !!!

And we·re back to advertising non-web pages

Brands are spending big & abandoning web pages

Social networking then went ´openµ 

Asymmetric  Public

Twitter really is a totally new concept 
Marketing channel  RSS reader  Instant messaging  Chat Room  Data mine  Customer service Dept

And perhaps ´openµ went a bit too far

Social Spending

I think we all know that social is going mobile

And people are building platforms to enable this

Business Logic

Mapping Layer

Points of Interest

OK, OK But Where are Things Headed Next?

1. Social Graph Becomes Portable

2. We Form Around True Networks
Friends Family

Business Associates

Areas of Interest



2. We Form Around True Networks
Family ³ I¶m coming home for Thanksgiving´

Friends Areas of Interest Business Associates

³ Check out how wasted we were ;-)´

³ Why did you choose MongoDB?´

³ I can¶t believe we¶re working again this weekend ´


³ I love The Decemberists, too!´


³I¶m looking for a role as a Director´

It·s ridiculous that these are all combined today

Example: Quora

Example: HackerNews

3. Privacy becomes a bigger concern

Pictures of your Kids

Your Friend
Personal Info

3rd Party App

Date of Birth


3. Privacy becomes a bigger concern

Tweets @ messages
DMs (private) 3rd Party Apps Can Access

4. Social Networking Becoming Pervasive

So advertising & content curation are instantly more targetable

But most websites don·t know what to do beyond this

5. Third Party Tools (e.g. Meebo Toolbar) Will Bring Social Networks to Websites

Twitter / Facebook


5. But Also Bring Social ´Featuresµ like sharing

6. Social Networking Will Split into Layers Business Logic Mapping Layers
Totally New Opportunities

Network Layers Social Graph / Features Open Source Data Mgmt Tools EC2 S3

7. Social chaos creates new markets Social Support Social Marketing

Social SFA

Personal Relationship Mgmt

Reputation Mgmt / Authority

Social Analytics

Fuck ´Check Ins & Badgesµ Skate Where the Puck is Going

The definition of social networking will cease to exist in the way that we seldom think about Internet companies

And for those who wonder if Facebook now IS the Internet, remember «.

Plus ça change
Jan 1998

April 2000

May 2007

It·s why Zuckerberg remains paranoid

And why there·s still a dream for those of you who work hard & innovate

Social Networking
Past, Present, Future

Thank you

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