Way back when, before the internet and mobile phones we’d agree to meet somewhere and we did. The newspapers arrived with the news from far-flung places, with the best bits held for the Sunday papers. Junk mail didn’t exist. There were weekly local newspapers. We all watched either the news at 5:45, 9pm or 10pm or all three. There was no 24 hour TV.
Fast forward a bit. Now we have everything in an instant.”Social Media”. For instance we have Twitter, which is about as real-time as it gets without being there, sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes not. If you’ve ever witnessed the rise and decline of a twitter meme you’ll understand how fickle it is.
And we have deal-a-day websites, by the hundreds, imploring us to buy now, immediately, things we don’t need at prices we can’t ignore. We have deal a day advertising on twitter of course, and Facebook.
We can’t just agree to meet somewhere, we have to text and call numerous times ‘just in case’ It’s scary how frail we’ve become, how unsure it all is, how needy.
Facebook has given everyone access to our lives, out thoughts and deeds. And we accept it. FourSquare has given you the ability to let people know what cafe, shop, street, bar you are in all the time. It’s “me” central!
But it can’t carry on. This explosion of socializing on the internet is doomed at some point, where it becomes intrusive. And I mean intrusive to me – I don’t really care that you’re the mayor of the donut shop, I don’t really want to see your party pictures on Facebook. There are bits of your life that I am interested in, just not some bits.
Twitter, Text, Facebook, et al, is where the wild west is. “Everyone” is trying to get a piece of the action, to make a buck, and to get you to spend a buck. At some point you just have to switch off and tune out.
Now I can’t actually think of a service that I’ve used that has fallen into obscurity, other than the web hosting Geocities, other than that Bebo, and MySpace perhaps. So I can’t see a tailspin for any of the services we use right now, or are familiar with, which are, to repeat them, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and Youtube. Even an aggregation of all these things into one super app isn’t what is going to happen, because why? It’ll be too cumbersome, too awkward, too heavy.
The thing that we overlook with Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Youtube. Google+, Flikr, WordPress, LinkedIn et al is that they are all “free” That’s right we don’t need to part with any cash of any kind to use them. Sure we have to have a device that can access them interactively, but they are free to use. And we accept that without question that we’re giving up something for something. We just don’t seem to care about what it is we’re giving up, which in two words is privacy and ownership. Of our identity and our intellectual property.
Anything that rises will have to have some basics, speed, reach, ease and appeal. Anything that falls will have become bloated, tedious or have some cataclysm around it like bankruptcy, where users fall away like hair falling out never to return.