What comes after Facebook? A social world?

facebook-lonelyAlmond Butterscotch named his photo Connected and lonely
That’s one of the most common questions I get when I’m giving speeches or meeting clients. Hell if I knew but the last couple of weeks I’ve been giving it some thoughts, new thoughts though. If you’d asked me one year ago I’d dreamed up some sort of new service or maybe I’d be talking about Instagram, Path or some other new social network. That’s of course in one way part of the answer but lately I’ve spent more time thinking about the vacuum that would appear of people stopped using Facebook.
I’ve been using Facebook since early 2007. It’s been one of my most important channels to keep up with both old and new friends. In the last five years I’ve come to appreciate the constant buzz of images, videos stories and links. People that I hadn’t seen for years and years has once again become part of my life and even if we don’t meet that often in the physical space we’re up to date on each others life. I also feel that the people that I do meet often has grown closer to me.
Now we’re constantly hearing that people are starting to leave Facebook. Some people make more buzz about it than others but in my feed I think it’s very clear that more and more people have stopped posting things on Facebook. It’s in many ways become quiet. And once people stop reacting to each others stories on Facebook the outcome will be less and less stories and suddenly we’ll stop posting anything at all. What happens then? Where do we go?
Well, some people will of course argue that this is great. We’ll stop talking online and spend more time together offline. Other people will probably say we’ll all move to a new social network and start spreading our content there instead. Personally I’ll say we’ll end up doing both BUT what I don’t think we’ll all do again is build up a new presence that in any way resembles how we’ve used Facebook. I’m sure we will not re-establish our network somewhere else. It’s taken many of us years and years and during these years we’ve changed. And this is the big change. This is ‘what happens after Facebook’. After Facebook we will loose contact with those old friends of ours that we had already lost before Facebook. Once again their faces will drift away only to be lost. Every now and then we’ll run into each other downtown and ask one and another “How are things” “Great, how are you” only to then keep on with our own life.
The question “What comes after Facebook” is in one way a sad question and in another way it’s just how life is…contanstly changing. Maybe, just maybe we’ll end up becoming more social again cause being social in the real world social network takes effort while being social in the social network, that takes…a like.
Funny. What comes after Facebook? A new social world!