The future of social networking - what will it be like?

Service Business

Social networking sites are an integral part of the life of every internet user. Depending on the character or needs, every day we post various posts containing thoughts swirling in our mind, add various activities to our favorites, subscribe, watch friends or exchange views on any topic. It was the users who made social networks take their present shape. They perform informative functions, enable instant communication with friends or simply let you learn more about others than you could through face-to-face conversation. Social networks also pose numerous threats resulting from the possibility of contact with strangers. There are numerous extortions or identity theft of users who openly provide too much information about themselves, not caring about the possible consequences of their actions. Wherever large groups of people appear on the web, hackers lurk like a wolf on stray sheep, ready to take over not only the account on the social network, but also the bank account data of the unsuspecting internet user. What will be the future of social networking?

The future of social networking sites - Facebook is the leader

Facebook is undoubtedly the largest and, therefore, the most popular social networking site in the world. Will its popularity continue in the coming years? Although today there is no indication of change, history has shown that the Internet market can be merciless even for leaders in a given category. Even 10 years ago, would anyone have suspected that the MySpace social networking site would give up the baton of the leader of the most visited site? Probably not. The situation repeated itself on the Polish market, when after several years of our class's dominance, interest in it dropped drastically due to the change in the service policy.

In the case of Facebook, the situation seems more stable - due to the growing interest and the number of registered and active users every month. In total, over 1.2 billion people are logged in to the website. The result is impressive, and yet the future of websites may take a completely new direction in the coming years.

It cannot be denied that Facebook has not been able to surprise visitors with something completely new for several years. From time to time, we observe the addition of new functions or the introduction of a more intuitive menu - in practice, users have become so used to Facebook that most of the possibilities would be left unchanged. Whoever stands still, retreats, and although it is not visible in global statistics, Internet users regularly look for new places to replace the worn-out "facebook".This is evidenced by the example of selected target groups - within a few months the number of active teenagers visiting Facebook has significantly decreased, and yet the total number of users has not decreased. Will we see a new leader in this sector in the coming years? Below, we present a few selected websites that stand out from the competition, having a real chance to take over the leader's baton. By the way, we will try to consider what a social networking site really is, as the approach to this topic has changed significantly in the following years.

The future of social networking sites - Google Plus on the way to the podium?

In June last year, the social network Google Plus celebrated its second anniversary on the market. Such a short period allowed the Google product to come second in the ranking of social networking sites. On the second "birthday" it already had over 500 million users, which in theory may mean that in about 2 years Facebook will lose its leadership position. Are you sure? In our country, Google Plus enjoys little interest and although it has many useful functions, all indications are that the revealed statistics are far from being stretched. Please note that Google has introduced integration with all services for some time. This means that using one account - for example for Gmail - we can also use the resources of YouTube or Google Plus.

It is estimated that at least half of the accounts included in the statistics are the result of combining multiple services. In practice, the holder of an account in Google Plus (with the data provided when registering Gmail) is not even aware of its existence. It does not mean that the website is empty. Its advantages are: a much smaller amount of spam, which has become a pain for Facebook users, more precise hashtag actions that allow you to reach unique and interesting content, or a clear menu and ease of navigation. The Google service seems to be still overshadowed by Zuckerberg's work and probably will not be on the top of the podium in terms of the number of active users per month for a long time.

The future of social networking sites - who will replace Facebook?

Facebook's undoubted success lies in the fact that it is aimed at practically every human being. Our interests, passions, political views or nationality do not matter - the general message reaches everyone who likes to exchange information with friends and read news from the world and the nearby region. For some time now, a large number of new social networking sites have emerged that target specific audiences. And although - taking into account the statistics - they are far from the popularity of the leader, there are many interesting initiatives gathering millions of users.

As it turns out, a social networking site does not have to be a website at all. In the era of the growing popularity of the mobile network, in which smartphones and tablets in terms of sales are better than PCs, the online community is understood as all kinds of applications that enable communication while allowing for joint fun and competition through integrated games. The latter, moreover, largely owe their popularity to such websites as Facebook - after all, who does not know Angry Birds or Bejeweled, i.e. the popular arrangement of crystals of one color vertically or horizontally.

The problem with Facebook is that it is a relatively passive platform and if it were not for popularity among users, there would be no extensive two-way communication with the website creators. What's more, even the appearance of the latest updates or changes goes unnoticed, because the developers rarely announce upcoming news. A few weeks ago, plans to release Paper were announced, i.e. the most interesting current information generated automatically for the user, but in the long run there was no global enthusiasm among visitors.

It can be said that since internet users create the website, the creators should not get too involved in the website's activities. As mentioned before, for a long time the website has not seen any significant changes that could breathe a little life into the slightly fossilized structure of the website. As a consequence, the same happens with users who comment on various topics - often these are entries of little value, devoid of much sense, and usually approaching spam, which, despite their unwillingness, are forced to view added friends.

The current form of Facebook has undoubtedly been largely created by various fan pages. Today, virtually every self-respecting company or brand has its own social profile, publishing daily news about products or services or simply adding any entry to remind you of their existence. In principle, it is supposed to be instant two-way communication between the client and the entrepreneur, although in practice the effectiveness of this form of communication when solving problems seems to be ineffective, and can even harm the company itself - e.g. by placing an inappropriate entry. So what is the leader missing? Definitely large groups of enthusiasts - and these have already started looking for suitable alternatives. There are more and more of these on the market, but will they take away Facebook's shares in the near future?

The future of social networking sites

Today, statistics show that social networking sites will develop in terms of close interactions of many users. Facebook in principle offers all the possibilities related to this, but due to the huge dispersion of many market segments, this task is much more difficult. Therefore, many interesting alternatives have emerged. Founded in 2010, Pinterest did not in theory seem like an innovation, and today it has over 70 million users, one in three of whom is active. The assumption is simple: the words "pin" and "interest" in the name of the site mean sharing (pinning) things or pages of interest in the form of visual material - pictures or photos. Unlike Facebook, Pinterest is more interactive between enthusiasts in the selected field - communication is more coherent and factual, and at the same time users are more willing to share their photos.

A social networking site does not necessarily have to be a website. Increasingly, this concept covers social applications. As it turns out, they don't have to be distinguished by advanced features to be appreciated by a wider audience. One of the more interesting examples is the app called QuizUp, which was launched in November 2013. In just four months, it reached a record 10 million users. The application can be downloaded for devices with the Android and iOS operating systems (available for smartphones and tablets).

What is its phenomenon? In jointly solving various quizzes and trivias (a set of questions in a given field). By the way, you can communicate with friends and compete for points. The advantage is not only the simplicity of use and intuitive navigation, but above all the huge number of categories (health, fashion, movies, politics, sport) - everyone, regardless of their interests and passions, will find an interesting topic for themselves, which they can share with their friends while teaching new curiosities. If the number of interested parties increases in the coming months, in a few years QuizUp even has a chance to achieve Facebook's result.

There are probably more similar examples, but the ones listed above perfectly illustrate the direction in which the online community develops and will develop. We want not only to shape our image, but also to be appreciated - this is human nature. Therefore, in order for social networking sites to grow in strength, it is necessary to create mechanisms that will not only attract new people, but also allow them to interact more than before. The direction seems good, although the IT industry has shown many times how difficult and unpredictable the market is.