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Where is social networking going?

June 27th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

The latest figures for Facebook are interesting. Facebook appears to have had fewer monthly active users at the start of June than at the start of May in the US, UK and Canada — at least according to one data source — even as it has grown bigger than ever worldwide. this could suggest that the market is by now saturated or even that people are moving on.

My own take is that whilst Facebook has alienated significant numbers of people with rampant commercialism and a cavalier attitude to privacy this is probably only amongst early adopters and the tech community. More important is the growth of more niche social networking applications.

Although Linkedin can hardly be described as niche, it is interesting to see the growth of Linkedin Groups and the high level of activity – at least in the groups of which I am a member.

I suspect people are increasingly separating out their presence (and digital identities) in different social networking applications and communities. And whilst size may be good, in terms of income the ‘professional’ social networks may turn out to be more sustainable and profitable tin the long term.

Interesting then to see the launch of a professional networking application for Facebook. In the last few weeks i have had some tens of messages saying:

“I’d like you to join my professional network on Facebook.

Graham – it’s professional networking with friends and friends of friends on Facebook. Feels like it can be very valuable to us.”

The messages come from a Facebook app called BranchOut. Given they all had the same wording I ignored them, but thinking about this blog post I did have a look. But once more I was put off by the privacy or lack of it. Although the video from BranchOut makes a big point that they will not access your photos, it asks for permissions to your wall, to all of your friends and demands an email address to send mail.

I guess once they have your friends list, they are auto spamming with messages such as above. Although once more this may result in rapid growth, I doubt it will do much for their reputation.

Linkedin may be a little staid and boring. But at least it seems to have evolved sensible privacy rules.

I think this will be critical for anyone trying to break into the social networking market.

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    The NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry has released its library edition. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in technology are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff, they say, a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

    The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Library Edition identifies “Increasing Value of the User Experience” and “Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery” as short-term impact trends driving changes in academic and research libraries over the next one to two years. The “Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record” and “Increasing Focus on Research Data Management” are mid-term impact trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and “Increasing Accessibility of Research Content” and “Rethinking Library Spaces” are long-term impact trends, anticipated to impact libraries for the next five years or more.


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    Are you going to Online Educa Berlin 2014. As usual we will be there, with Sounds of the Bazaar, our internet radio station, broadcasting live from the Marlene bar on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December. And as always, we are looking for people who would like to come on the programme. Tell us about your research or your project. tell us about cool new ideas and apps for learning. Or just come and blow off steam about something you feel strongly about. If you would like to pre-book a slot on the radio email graham10 [at] mac [dot] com telling us what you would like to talk about.


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    Diana Laurillard, Chair of ALT, has invited contributions to a consultation on education technology to provide input to ETAG, the Education Technology Action Group, which was set up in England in February 2014 by three ministers: Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock and David Willetts.

    The deadline for contributions is 23 June at http://goo.gl/LwR65t.


    Social Tech Guide

    The Nominet Trust have announced their new look Social Tech Guide.

    The Social Tech Guide first launched last year, initially as a home to the 2013 Nominet Trust 100 – which they describe as a list of 100 inspiring digital projects tackling the world’s most pressing social issues.

    In  a press relase they say: “With so many social tech ventures out there supporting people and enforcing positive change on a daily basis, we wanted to create a comprehensive resource that allows us to celebrate and learn from the pioneers using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives.

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