Social Networking Sites: Dead in Two Years

I recently held a poll on Social Times about whether or not users believed that social networking sites would eventually become “like air” as Charlene Li of Forrester Research has previously asserted. Most people didn’t believe it but after seeing the new Facebook profile design, I’m pretty confident that social networking sites are dead in the way they currently exist.

The idea that I need to go to another website to see what my friends are up to is absolutely ridiculous. Why do I need to go to Facebook to get updates on the relationship statuses of my friends or to find out that my friend John recently uploaded a photo of his trip to Hawaii. FriendFeed already accomplishes some of these things but the idea that I need to do all of this from one website is ridiculous.

Within the next two years we are going to witness the proliferation of desktop social control panels which leverage various networks the same way that IM clients like Digsby and Gabtastik currently let users leverage any of their chat systems. There will soon be a social protocol developed for updating your social data via Facebook and eventually other sites including MySpace, Bebo, etc.

Think I’m crazy? You have a right to think so but this is my blog so I can make any assertion that I want! This isn’t that crazy of an idea when you think about it though. There’s already FriendFeed support within Twhirl, we are only a few steps away from Facebook support. Can you think of any other ways to extend social networking features to the desktop? While I don’t think that social networking is dead by any means, I think that the existence of stand alone sites will soon be passé.