What would the popular social network of 2020 look like?

Ajay Awatramani ‏@Jarmoney: What would the popular social network of 2020 look like?

Answer

A little website that a few people have heard of.

Facebook.

Everyone seems to assume Facebook is a fad. Here’s some things I hear: “Facebook is the next MySpace”. Or, “Mark Zuckerberg is a bad CEO”.

Really?

Facebook has a billion users. MySpace peaked around 100 million. Facebook is in every country on the planet. More time is spent on Facebook than any other site by a factor of about 100. Let’s see. What else is Facebook? It’s the world’s largest dating site. It’s the world’s largest photo sharing site. It’s the world’s largest gaming site. I use it every day. My 13 year now uses it every day. My wife uses it every day. I think everyone I know uses it EVERY DAY.

What will happen between now and 2020? Facebook will get better. Two ways Facebook will get better:

Location:

So that means more interesting things will happen between Facebook and my phone. Depending on privacy settings maybe I will be walking in NYC and I will get an SMS: “you just passed John Smith sitting in the Starbucks. If you go in and join him you get 10% off our coffee.”

Content:

What else can get better? I don’t mind ads that target me very accurately. The more accurate the targeting, the more likely it is that ads become actual content. For instance, based on my Facebook interests plus my Amazon purchase history I wouldn’t mind if every day Amazon recommended a book for me to buy. Or, if most of my friends are in LA and I’m in NYC I wouldn’t mind if Expedia offered me discounts to get to LA.

As for Mark Zuckerberg:

– in the past 6 years he’s built up a site with a billion users

– he’s built up a company with a few billion in revenues.

– he just had an IPO raising $12 billion with the lowest possible dilution, with the lowest fees to Wall Street for any IPO ever at that level. Short term flippers were screwed but long-term shareholders will benefit.

– he’s responded to every privacy issue, every complaint, to keep building a brand that people trust.

– he’s “organized” the Internet by developing a common format for individuals and companies to share information. That’s why more and more companies are making their company URLs be their Facebook URLs. That’s why the notion of “your home page” has now been replaced by “your Facebook page”.

Let him stick around a little more. I’m sure he’s got some good stuff planned for us between now and 2020. And congrats to him for donating $100 million to Newark’s school system.

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