Social Networking is ephemeral

In the Internet World people often talk about the success of MySpace and Facebook.  These are given as prime examples of the success of social networking.  These sites primarily cater to teenagers and (early) young adults.  A close look at these sites makes it obvious that the ‘social’ networking there is based on two things: sex and teenage-friendship.  Both these are essential when we are growing up and during that age (roughly 13-22) those are the two that occupy 90% attention of 90% people (numbers inspired by 90-10 rule).  What a wonderful age that is!  But it ends and then one faces the real world.

 Well the real world is not bad, but is quite different.  The two dominant ‘occupations’ of that age gradually change from sex to family-commitments and teenage-friendships to professional-networks.  This gradual transformation is imminent and is more lasting.  If the first period lasts from 13-22, the next lasts from 22- till death.  This obviously does not mean that sex and friendships end; it only means that they don’t dominate as do in the first case.  In fact in many individual cases family and professional activities dominate as strongly as sex and friendships.

It is interesting that when people think of social networking they are mostly thinking about the demographics that has limited purchasing power and is definitely going to slowly get out of that demographics.  All of us pass thru that age and then stay much longer in the age that is dominated by family and profession.  The lifespan addressed by social networking sites addresses relatively ephemeral part of our life.

Surprisingly, family and professional networking has not been addressed as much.  Or is it that it has been addressed but has not been successful.  I think one reason that current social networking has been so successful is because teenagers by definition have more time and energy and are more interested in experimenting. The real reason for networking sites not getting into professional and family area appears to be that no good ideas have come around.  So there maybe a chance for innovative approaches to address this need of the society.

13 thoughts on “Social Networking is ephemeral

  1. Pingback: Social Networking Bulletin - » Social Networking is ephemeral

  2. Respiro, the logo design guy

    Mr. Ramesh, there’s a fact: there is still a lot of money in social networking, so, in my humble opinion, it won’t die soon. On the other hand, your conclusions are important ones as it seems that a certain age category is ignored – there’s no offer for those who are not interested in MySpace anymore, due to their changed priorities. Perhaps the answer lies in the niche social networking sites and communities. What is your opinion?

    Best regards,

  3. Tim

    I think the next level of social networking sites will be the aggregation of socially generated content, personas, and profiles. When will social immigrants become frustrated with having blogs, wikis, im, picture sharing and professional networking to manage when all they need is one well thought out tool to handle the needs.

    Also, what about the new found use for youtube, myspace and blog for social marketing? Many top companies are finding that using these new mediums to reach targeted audiences can result in a new found profit generator.

    Great post. I will stay tuned to find out what others are saying.

  4. Deborah Panetta

    On the contrary our family social networking product at is enjoying great success in the market place. It’s all about features that empower the entire family that make it an interesting experieince for all to participate in and come back to. Family members may not sit on a family website 6 hours a day like kids do on MySpace but don’t underestimate the value & importance of having a place to connect with your roots and those you love.

  5. Search engine optimization expert

    Social networking is laboring under the inescapable weight of the
    dot-com curse: you have to find the money. No matter how cool
    your idea is, it’s dead on arrival without an actual business plan. At
    least, that’s the theory. If that’s true, though, why has blogging,
    which seems like a neat idea dependent on interest but without a
    concrete revenue stream, managed to not just thrive, but really
    dominate the Web? How is it that free instant messengers are as
    indispensable as any search engine, and little guys like Trillian are
    still going strong? Is it really true that free services can’t be
    effective business plans? Or is it possible that–gasp!–social
    networking isn’t really that tenable an idea after all?

    That’s a broad category that covers far more than social-networking
    sites such as Friendster and Google’s It would also
    sweep in a wide range of interactive Web sites and services,
    including, AOL and Yahoo’s instant-messaging
    features, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which permits in-game chat.

    But adults are taking notice. Sites like Facebook are accessible to
    nearly anyone willing to spend the time to gain access: teachers,
    school administrators, even potential employers and the police.
    Such online services can create the illusion of privacy where none actually exists. Facebook, in particular, was designed to emphasize
    privacy and intimacy. Only other users at your school (with the
    same college e-mail domain name), and those in networks you join,
    can see your home page. But determined off-campus visitors can
    persuade a student or alumnus to help them access the student’s

    Still, no matter how their future takes shape, these types of networks are ingrained in Internet society. “They’re here to stay. Like eBay, they are embedded now. The idea of joining online communities and being able to participate in them is not going to disappear.”

  6. Samantha

    It’s all about features that empower the entire family that make it an interesting experieince for all to participate in and come back to.

  7. Don McNulty

    Personally, I perceive that the next generation of social networking sites will be an amalgamation of socially-generated content and profiles. It will not be long before social site users become fed up with having to manage multiple sites: blogs, instant messaging, wikis, picture sharing, professional networking, etc. A new generation of social networking sites, which are showing up already, will give them one dashboard or control panel to handle everything.

  8. tera RMT

    Howdy! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

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