Extrapolating from the ways in which social media has grown, what might a futurist’s view of things look like, given 5, 10 or 15 years of further evolution?

Reductio ad rankum

I think we would see a social counterpart to the utility computing / grid computing promise of a while back, the loins of which brought us cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS). We might see something like utility socialising. A term which would probably need to be fluffied-up. I dunno, “sky-friending” ? recognition/rank-as-a-service (RaaS)?

If that comes to pass, it will be a world in which bots crawl personal social networks for personal info, so that persons may be auto-introduced and, far more importantly, ranked in the new social order. Your social network ranking will be an indicator of your social worth, and the ensuing jostling for position will make today’s SEO wizardry look like teen wicca at a slumber party.

It will be a world in which connecting to acquaintances in order to synch goals will be considerably easier, like leaning back in a chair and lacing your fingers behind your head and talking to a multitude of holoprojected contacts. Admittedly, I do like this part. However, the messiness of actual face-to-face contact will have shrivelled away into a rarely- / sometimes-explored branch on our collective, bundled grooves of habitude, and may not exist at all except as a quaint concept in some younger minds. I personally don’t think lack of actual physical contact between people will be this extreme, but you never know…

Once the really big personal networks centered around ‘connector types‘ (*retch*) induce the inevitable power law structures, the whole thing won’t stay ‘personal’ for too long thereafter, I don’t think.

It will be a world in which extended families, tribes, villages and chiefdoms will undergo a digital re-invention. Prepare to see virtual counterparts to everyday rites of passage like marriage (why not finally, legally, “marry” someone with whom you have a meeting of minds, even though you may never physically meet. Virtual spouses may have special rights (eg what happens to our intellectual property, or net social value after death or divorce); birth (the adoption of someone new into a social network); death (when someone leaves a social network), and so on.

Social-network-rank (SNR – oh, the irony) will be bequeathable, and accrueable by association.

Just to jog your memory: other things that have generally been bequeathable and accruable by association have been property, money and social status.

I may just have figured out why I have been shunning social media networks. They’re evolving into what we’ve already got.

I didn’t like the first incarnation of things, let alone…

Never mind.

Just maybe… just maybe, it might be more than what we have right now. Better in some qualitative way. Until then, I’m running along the tracks, like some desperado in a hollywood movie when the train with their loved one starts to pull out of the station, and the camera’s trained on that herculean effort to reach a railing and jump on. But maybe I’m just running alongside and waving a white handkerchief… waving goodbye, and surrendering my future SNR equity.

Huh. Futures in my own personal market… Puts, anyone?

0 Replies to “Utility socialising : the future of social media?”

  1. 1. Virtual Marriage: you must run with this. If you don’t, someone will steal it in three…two…one…

    2. Doesn’t bequeathing SNRs defeat the whole purpose? It is, after all your characteristics that warranted the ranking; and those will not be carried over.

  2. Oh yeah… I hadn’t thought about the bequeathing issue at all, as you can see!

    SNR would very likely become monetised tho’. Also, people might a) hone their progeny’s skills in the art of ranking, and b) even where they don’t, the rest of us would tend to confer ranking by attribution or ‘by dint of’. A sort of paris-hilton-esque rank by proxy…

    yeah maybe that’s more likely than actual bequeathing…

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