In my last post on Indian Social Networking Trends, I drew analogy between one of Dina’s post and beta launch of Yahoo’s SpotM. So this time around, I took the liberty to go much beyond trending and give much more concrete and holistic view of how Social Networking space will shape up for the future.

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Though I wrote about it here, here & here, so this time around I will try to provide some more juice on social networks. Here are some of my top 10 social networking prediction are:

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1. Mobile Networking will catch up mainstream: Interaction in social networks happens most often through messages which is the most common feature. Some call it wall posts, other as scraps etc. It is most frequent among younger generation who wants to be connected 24*7. Mobile devices will become a savior since its the only device which is ubiquitous and its reach is wide. But certain hindrances are still to be overcome like the browser based networks don’t leverage the power of the mobile device, and client based applications are blocked by service providers and handset limitations. So once someone utilizes this potential to create an application that has enough traction to catch the attention and remove the tech limitations of browser apps compatibility with mobile devices and stuff like service providers blockades, then connectivity isn’t a issue.

2. “Content is King” will be the buzzword:
Yes, the content is the buzzword. Some may find it difficult to fathom it but it’s true. The content of the network, we all will be in is going to be the single most factor which could win over the Social Networks battle.

3. The “longish” long tail will prevail:
Over the past year, its unimaginable to find that there are scores of social networks on the fringes – social networks for babies, mothers, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Questioning and many more unique yet prevalent social networks. So power of the longish long tail will prevail in Social Networking.

4. Interactive Apps will augment social networks:
Sandeep has an interesting take on this one – The new interactive mechanisms for many social sites may be backed by artificial intelligence. This will bring spice to the entire model. For instance, your social network or online group will show itself to be angry, happy, sad, etc., all on its own, as a result of its members’ input. These small and unique interactive developments will engage the users to a great extent.

5. Content Creation & Consumption will happen at the source:
Social networks won’t just be a platform to feed & share your personal life with friends & family. It will become our megaphone to voice about anything & everything around us. Though first round initiatives have been taken – Thanks to Google.

6. Changes in “Content Delivery” of Social Networks:
Content delivery via social networks will change over time. Social networks will act also as an entertainment cum information window for users in world wide web viz. ChillX.

7. Monetization of actionable content in Social Networks:
Monetization has been a problem for social networks (read here, here & here too). But once social networks are able to position themselves as branded content providers like MySpace have done then monetization won’t be pain. But for this enough critical mass is needed for which social networks have to duly rely on other distributive mediums like progressive mobile networks etc to spread their content.

8. Medium will become the message in Social Networks:
Since we are talking about social networks which provides vast information pool at free cost for end users, so medium itself is easy to spread and theme based social networks will definitely plug in more users who will in turn out to be evangelists to spread the message. One of the networks which I know is working towards it is ChillX which wants to attract Indian Gen X & Y to form a community of users who share & spread.

9. The power of community will prevail:
Social networks are typically measured in terms of registered users, unique users and engagement (in terms of time spent, page views per unique user etc. This will be on the rise once social networks are able to draw users into community. This will be on the rise in the near future.

10. Geographically & Culturally focused Social Networks:
The popularity of social networks varies by region. In the U.S., Myspace and Facebook are most popular; in India and Brazil, Orkut rules; China has QQ; Europe has Hi5. So we will see more & more of geographically & culturally focused social networks like Viacom’s Flux which will stress on “Personal community”. (Read more on this here).

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So these are Top 10 Social Networking predictions that will prevail in the near future. I’ll do a series of such posts in the future too as on when it happens.

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