A great post by MG Siegler pronounced the end of the age of the social network this weekend. His proclimation about social networks dying on the vine was well crafted. It’s a bold statement but Siegler’s post, which outlines a conversation with Mike Isaac, from AllThingsD, offers great insight to the state of social and how people are using technology to communicate and where this mess is all going.
One section of Siegler’s message I found particularly profound was this:
Photos were one of the first and largest to break free. Messaging has been all the rage the past year. But those were both obvious trends with links to the past. Now we have some different things coming into power based around varying degrees of impermanence and varying degrees of anonymity.
At first, some of these things looked a little too much like faddish trends. But the key is to look at the intent of the users actually using them. With Secret, it seems to me there’s a strong desire towards more personal expression. A slight layer of anonymity is simply a tool to draw out this expression, while an emphasis on strong connections (via the address book) makes such expressions more valuable to both senders and receivers.
All of this was born out of Seigler’s comments to Isaac on Secret – an iOS app that lets users post anonymously to friends and friends of friends. It’s exactly the type of change on the social scene that is changing everything. Like SnapChat, it’s disruptive and is showing how the networks as we know them, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, are the “old” way already.
Things are changing and the power is in the hands of the user. Where are they taking us? Where they want to.
Will those of us on the brand side follow them?