Limits to Growth of Social Networks

Graham Atwell has written a post on Serious Social Networking (see http://www.pontydysgu.org/2011/01/serious-social-networking/) in which he cites a Guardian article about “a so called ‘backlash’ against social networking“. Graham, to an extent, agrees as he “suspect[s] the novelty factor has worn off“.  But he doesn’t feel that social networking is dead; rather “it does mean we are slowly evolving an ecosystem of social networking and I am not sure that the Facebook model, driven by the desire to monetarise a huge user base will survive in the long term“.

But there’s no evidence of this and Facebook is continuing to grow. t strikes me that we are back in the 1990s, with people predicting that Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop will be replaced by Star office/Open Office applications running on Linux operating systems on desktop PCs.   It didn’t happen – and arguably making plans based on a scenario which failed to materialise was counter-productive, as it meant that effort and resources were dissipated and best practices for exploting the PC environment became hidden.

I think we will reach a plateau; as the benefits of social approaches become appreciated they will reach the Gartners Plateau of Productivity. But there will also be those who are more comfortable working on their own or in a managed environment. The constraining factor to growth will be based on such personal styles of working, not on the nature of the social networking environments themselves.

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