Social networks continue blending. What’s next?

When the Web 2.0 era started we began feeling that everything was about “sharing, avatars, engagement, friends, status updates”, etc. For any new  “social” website launching, if we included all the words mentioned above, we wouldn’t feel that they’re a copy of other sites. I guess that’s  what a social network is supposed to offer right?  However if we have a look at the biggest networks, the trend setters like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, either they’re running out of ideas or very cleverly not wrecking their heads with “the next big thing/feature” and simply copying their neighbors… or maybe making it official (like the LinkedIn-Twitter status updates) and integrating properly. Is that the way to go?
Anyways, looks though like Twitter is being copied the most… Here are a few examples:

Facebook copying Twitter

Back in March of this year, Facebook’s redesign offered a new experience… but wait a minute, didn’t that look like Twitter? Yes, so what? Even though that was immediately rejected by 94% of the users, Facebook felt it was the right decision and kept it. Soon, millions of users would get less passionate and forget about this “new design experience” and carry on enjoying the platform. From March ’09 to present, Facebook welcomed close to 100 million new and active users… looks like the Twitter thing worked out…

old vs new facebook design

Facebook have also brought more Twitter stuff to the table: the “@mentions” that now appear as anchor text on the status updates. Great move. I wonder when will Twitter start adding some Facebook spice as “Like” on tweets for example. Blogs have adopted that in comments already. (Twitter and Facebook! what about a “Dislike” button?? Maybe too negative? Over to you…)

LinkedIn copying Twitter

First, they came up with status updates . Then, they made the most obvious change (and a great one I must say) that was including avatars! Recently they implemented the feature “follow” for LinkedIn groups (you can also follow people that you’re not necessarily connected with).
The most obvious one is the integration announced last week (An official partnership) about status updates from Twitter to LinkedIn and vice versa.  Furthermore, a Twitter client functionality (right from your LinkedIn homepage) was just added.

twitter linkedin status updates twitter client

Orkut copying Twitter and Facebook

On October 30th, Orkut (Now owned by Google) relaunched with features very similar to their cousins Facebook and Twitter… Don’t even need to say more. Have a look…

orkut copy facebook and twitter

The question is: Will a new trend setter appear or we’ll keep seeing this kind of predictable changes? Would Bebo, My Space and other sites need to integrate with their brothers or launch the same features to retain users or simply to survive?

Come on, tell us… What’s next?

Best,

Fred

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Comments ( 11 )
  • 617patrick says:

    Good article, and here are some fresh ideas about how LinkedIn could make status updates really useful at http://www.the-linkedin-speaker.com/blog/2009/1

  • Stuart Adams says:

    Good comments. I noticed, while doing research for a post on my blog, SociaLies, that more and more of the social media channels are trying to seamlessly integrate themselves, through apps and otherwise, with other channels.

    This seems like the automotive and other industries, which often copy more successful models, sometimes to the point of losing their own unique, competitive edge. Lexus, for instance, copies the body style of a popular Mercedes model in the target market of Lexus, and they start to look the same. Hyundai then copies the Lexus model, and they all start to look the same.

    This could be the start of backing into the Web 3.0 paradigm change, where data becomes universal and omnipresent.

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks a lot for your comments Stuart.
    It's tru that the example can also be taken to the offline world. The Lexus design as something that I always wondered, how come this guys look so similar to Mercedes? I'm sure they lost a few cases…
    As you mentioned, maybe this is getting to a point where the Web 2.0 can't look creative or innovative any more… Let's see who brakes the ice first 🙂

  • Lauren Fisher says:

    Interesting post Fred. Everyone's trying to get a little piece of the social media 'flavour of the minute' that is Twitter. I just don't know that their features can really work across other platforms. Bit like a square peg-round hole kind of situation. I can't really say I've seen many people using the new @replies on Facebook.
    I definitely think we're all ready for a change and a revolutionary social media platform. All that seems to make the headlines at the moment is that a site is adding real-time search, or that Facebook has had another redesign.
    Like you, can't wait to see what's next.

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the comment Loz. Maybe the Web 3.0 is around the corner… (definitely faster than what it took to shit from 1 to 2.0)

  • Mark Cahill says:

    Fred,

    I have found a little more Social Network Blending on YouTube. YouTube now has a “Find a Friend” option as used in Facebook, FriendFeed, GoogleMail etc.
    Please see my Blog post on this:

    http://short.ie/gm6xmz

  • YouTube is now a little more Social | Consult Mark Blog says:

    […] for further information on the “Blending of Social Networks” have a look at this Blog post by Fred at Channelship. Feed Find […]

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the comment Loz. Maybe the Web 3.0 is around the corner… (definitely faster than what it took to shift from 1 to 2.0)

  • Mark Cahill says:

    Fred,

    I have found a little more Social Network Blending on YouTube. YouTube now has a “Find a Friend” option as used in Facebook, FriendFeed, GoogleMail etc.
    Please see my Blog post on this:

    http://short.ie/gm6xmz

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