Chris Anderson began his keynote address at the Mediabistro Circus this afternoon by saying: “I was going to take this moment to show you a work in progress. I was going to show you a community we were building. …On Friday, we heard from the lawyers that the contract has a little hitch in it, and I can’t talk about it.”
So instead of detailing the possibly soon-to-launch social networking site that will change the world, Anderson used his love of aerial robotics to discuss the future. In his spare time, Wired‘s editor oversees DIY Drones, a micro site devoted to aerial robotics that’s built on the Ning platform. Anderson, who admitted his slides were “the ugliest you’ve ever seen. … we just won the ASME’s for design, you now know who on our staff has nothing to do with design,” sees this type of site as the future of social networking. “It is exactly the granularity that this community wants to focus on,” he told the attending masses.
DIY Drones created community by showing recent activity of its users on the left-hand side of the page. “By putting the latest activity first, we’ve taken what would have been a static page and added community features,” Anderson explained. “Every blog could be a social networking page like this.”
But what is the problem with Facebook, MySpace and the rest of the current crop of wildly successful social networks?
Mostly, no one has figured out how to monetize them. “The world doesn’t need another generic social network,” Anderson said. “Social networking is a feature, not a destination … Content first, community second a catalyzing subject matter, then the community emerges from that.”
Anderson said he sees the future of social networks in smaller sites because “smaller Web sites have a distinct purpose.” This dedicated audience is attractive to advertisers, increasing CPM rates.