“So if interest-based social networks focus first on an individual’s interest graph and Facebook centers on an individual’s social graph, which service will be the winner?
Humans are inherently social creatures, and we define ourselves both by the people we know and our interests. We make decisions about where to eat, what to buy, where to visit, etc. based on a complex matrix of social relationships, past experiences, location, long standing interests and future goals. Today’s platforms approach our lives from different angles but both are integral to how we define ourselves and interact with the world around us.
There are opportunities to establish differentiated, sustainable social media brands with large, passionate audiences. Much like the modern day media disrupters (e.g. ESPN or HBO or CNN), these services can establish new social media networks that are differentiated and unique, protecting them from the inevitable concern that they get squashed by Facebook. The traditional “Big 3 networks” (NBC, ABC, and CBS) used to be the only properties that really mattered, similar to how some view Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in today’s social media landscape. Emerging networks will be the new media brands and properties that augment social networking and media.
At the same time, the rise of these new interest based social networks does not really threaten Facebook, in fact, they are more likely to benefit Facebook. Specifically, Facebook has evolved itself brilliantly into not only an end user application drawing near to 1 billion accounts but also a robust, powerful platform other apps can leverage in order to drive more users to their services. Pinterest, Instagram, Fab, and many others have adopted Facebook’s Timeline API for precisely the reason of wanting to raise awareness of their services and drive more users to their sites. As these new services grow, more content gets pumped back to Facebook, Facebook’s platform gets more robust. Wash, rinse, repeat… Facebook’s positive feedback loop gains more momentum, and becomes more powerful.
In the words of Marc Andreessen, “Software is eating the world”, and in the world of social media, there is, for now, plenty of world to go around.”