the social internet


There was an interesting post today about the social internet being dead.

The internet’s communications functionality has always been baked into the platform, since long before one of the first software applications — the social network — that enabled being able to use it. What started out as ‘user groups’ evolved into the ‘chat room,’ and then the ‘message board,’ ‘forum,’ and ultimately, ‘social networks.’ All of which are one in the same and provide internet users the same tools and experience.

This has gone on now for over a decade within the consumer user market. The paradigm shift that took it to the mass consumer level was the advent of MySpace, which was a mix of perfect storm conditions and the evolution of use of the internet as a platform than anything to do with innovation (given that the application of the social network had been around for over ten years earlier).

All of the exact same things seen now have been seen for a long time — user behaviors, certain users rising in influence, the difficulties in monetization and various challenges being faced by brands as seen today. 

Nothing new is happening, really. It’s just happening on a broader scale with a larger number of people.

But in reality what’s really operating at the core of it all are the dual functionality of the internet as a platform itself. Kicking aside the software applications (websites, search tools, apps, social networks, etc.), the platform infrastructure itself is designed to deliver two very specific things — information delivery and communications. Where and how ‘social apps’ fit in is in either that they provide one or the other or both, or fit somewhere along that channel. The issue that has plagued the market has not been that social is dead or alive so much as it, like the internet itself, have somewhat been very grossly misunderstood and in many ways, therefore inappropriately used, approached, monetized, evolved, etc.

At the bottom line the internet platform is what all the legacy platforms have always been before, rolled into one seamless environment. Mobile is not ‘mobile’ alone but device agnostic, and the key to understanding, adapting and moving along to make it have value lies entirely and nearly squarely here. 

The social internet will either do one or the other or both, and doesn’t change anything, in reality, about anything but that the world is moving to a new unified information delivery and communications platform, the internet, and that’s all that is really going on. Monetization, marketing, advertising, consumer behavior, etc. has and will always remain the same as it has in information delivery and communications platform business. Only the platform itself is changing.

The social internet isn’t dead, or broken. But the mindsets, thoughts, approaches, and understanding of it that’s been (and therefore haven’t worked as a result), may finally at long last be. And this is a good thing.

via Tumblr


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