Social media has changed the world. Literally.
Every month billions of people now log in to various social media platforms to consume and post new content. This is a massive change in human behaviour, of global magnitude. It was not happening on anywhere near this scale even just five short years ago. One in every nine people on earth are now members of Facebook – a truly mind-blowing statistic.
But therein lies a clue to the future path of social media. Facebook, Linked In, Twitter are now “mega networks” – the new utilities of the web. And because they’re so generic, they understandably struggle to be ‘all things to all people’. Open API’s and the explosion of ‘app’ culture has negated this to a large degree; through integration with their platforms, external third party developers have added a dizzying array of extra functionality that keeps more users on the main social platforms, for longer.
But the undeniable trend is for niche social networks. There’s an excellent research paper on the topic here
My view is that just as the internet itself has disrupted so many ‘analogue’ industries, there will be existing ‘old school’ digital businesses that are ripe for disruption via niche social networks. Real estate is an obvious target. In Australia, property portals are dominated by a handful of large media companies who effectively control the means of production. The great thing about social networking technology – when deployed creatively – is that it can put this ‘means of production’ into the hands of every day people.
So, it’s clear there is a global trend towards niche social networks. We hope that Housenet can be a successful example of this trend, and add real value to the lives of the consumers and small business people who truly own the local housing market.