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Social Networking Past, Present, Future. Mark Suster Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum October 9, 2010 @ msuster Where Did Social Networking Start?. In our debates we tend to focus too much on technology.

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Social NetworkingPast, Present, Future

Mark Suster

Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum

October 9, 2010


Where Did Social Networking Start?

In our debates we tend to focus too much on technology

It’s about shared experiences & we’ve replicated this online

It’s about meeting people & communicated with those we know

Online social networks mirror offline lives

It’s about the 6 C’s

  • Communications

  • Connectedness

  • Common Experience

  • Content

  • Commerce

  • Cool Experiences (ok, entertainment ;-)

It’s why


It’s why


Pre Internet had social networks

Pre Internet had social networks

Anyone around then will know what one of these was

AOL bridges gap between pre-Internet & Internet

People advertised “AOL Keywords” not websites

AOL Keyword: Swordfish

Web 1.0 made it easier to have personal pages on “the web” (e.g. not AOL)

And “groups” have been around for ages

  • Mothers’ clubs

  • Church groups

  • Education

Social networks have been around for a long time.

  • Usability is better.

  • 3rd-party platforms.

  • More people are connected.

But same old shit.

And then spam-based social networks began

Mostly for professional use / older demo

And it was really about extending your network

Web 2.0 was born and we evolved online social expression

Web 2.0 was born - social contribution




Web 2.0 went social - skewed back to youth

Facebook launched. Was exclusive

  • Teenage

  • Middle America

  • Scantily Dressed

  • Design chaos

  • Ads galore

  • Not verified

  • Up market

  • University

  • Exclusive

  • Urban elite

  • Clean

  • Ad free

  • Verified

It started as .edu

And they captured the tech elite

They each captured 100m users, who increasingly wanted to share photos / video

MySpace Bought PhotoBucket & Google Bought YouTube

And MySpace declared war on developers

And this guy (22)

Schooled this guy (75)

He understood software business was different than media business

Within a SINGLE YEAR the game was over

And Facebook went mainstream

And then some !!!

And we’re back to advertising non-web pages

Brands are spending big & abandoning web pages

Social networking then went “open”

  • Asymmetric

  • Public

Twitter really is a totally new concept

  • Marketing channel

  • RSS reader

  • Instant messaging

  • Chat Room

  • Data mine

  • Customer service Dept

And perhaps “open” went a bit too far

Social Spending

I think we all know that social is going mobile

And people are building platforms to enable this

Business Logic

Mapping Layer

Points of Interest

OK, OKBut Where are Things Headed Next?

1. Social Graph Becomes Portable

2. We Form Around True Networks



Areas of Interest

Business Associates



2. We Form Around True Networks


“ I’m coming home for Thanksgiving”


“ Check out how wasted we were ;-)”

Areas of Interest

“ Why did you choose MongoDB?”

Business Associates

“ I can’t believe we’re working again this weekend ”


“ I love The Decemberists, too!”


“I’m looking for a role as a Director”

It’s ridiculous that these are all combined today

Example: Quora

Example: HackerNews

3. Privacy becomes a bigger concern

Your Friend

Pictures of your Kids

3rd Party App

Personal Info


Date of Birth

3. Privacy becomes a bigger concern


@ messages



3rd Party Apps Can Access

4. Social Networking Becoming Pervasive

So advertising & content curation are instantly more targetable

But most websites don’t know what to do beyond this

5. Third Party Tools (e.g. Meebo Toolbar) Will Bring Social Networks to Websites


Twitter /


5. But Also Bring Social “Features” like sharing

6. Social Networking Will Split into Layers

Business Logic

Mapping Layers

Totally New Opportunities

Network Layers

Social Graph / Features

Open Source Data

Mgmt Tools



7. Social chaos creates new markets

Social Support

Social SFA

Social Marketing

Personal Relationship Mgmt

Reputation Mgmt / Authority

Social Analytics

Fuck “Check Ins & Badges” Skate Where the Puck is Going

The definition of social networking will cease to exist in the way that we seldom think about Internet companies

And for those who wonder if Facebook now IS the Internet, remember ….

Plus ça change

April 2000

Jan 1998

May 2007

It’s why Zuckerberg remains paranoid

And why there’s still a dream for those of you who work hard & innovate

Social NetworkingPast, Present, Future

Thank you

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