While, web-based social networks have had a profound impact on internet communications, they are still in a sort of infancy.
For one, they are fragmented. There is no commonality between the various social networks. Users have to re-enter their data time and time again with each new network. If the best features of all of the social networks could be merged, or even draw information from one another, it would be incredibly powerful. Structures could be developed, where individuals could belong to many different groups, many different social networks, creating links between those interests and groups.
Imagine an individual belonging to a social network based around a local chorus group. A virtual “velvet rope” could be drawn around that group, allowing the social network to be contained, and have all the benefits of a private social network. Then, say the user belonged to another group, and even that group had its own delineations. Then those groups belong to groups (such as township, county, or other larger group).
This could be accomplished if a type of standard language could be developed – a sort of XML – where data attributes could be shared across groups.
Another concept which could allow for more dynamic social networks – if they could grow and replicate of their own accord (or at least that of its users). For example, say you had a small group of local businesses. Within their group, they share ideas, communicating with all of the various tools that social networks use. Then, say a group within that group wanted to create a sub-group. It should built within the system. Or, if a group wanted to replicate in a nearby community, sharing some content across the groups.
Its easy to imagine a sort of future social network which grows, splinters, replicates, etc., of its own volition.
Shiv Singh has some interesting thoughts on Social Networks. The comments on this article are interesting… Lots of discussion about sub-webs. The problem I’m seeing with all of the Social Networking models is the very thing thats makes them occur; nodality. Can “nodes” include paradox – allowing users and groups to belong to one or more group, allowing groups to belong to other groups (contextually), to have “velvet ropes” AND openess?