Recently I read somewhere that most websites are somehow social networks (SocNets) in their own way. I have been wondering how, in the recent past, personal homepages transformed into and made way for social network profiles and blogs. Nowadays most people who have broadband connectivity at their home or work also do networking online and many among them have started blogging as well.
Now, if you carefully analyze the current blogging trends you will notice that blogs for that matter some forums and mail groups as well are slowly becoming social networking platforms for people with specific interests. To drive my point home, let us list down those features of a website that make it a social networking site.
Characteristics of a Social Networking site
A social networking site allows its members to do the following:
- Search, add and organize friends, online acquaintances and interest groups
- Seamless text communication or messaging to interact
- Text messages are logically grouped or categorized
- Store, organize and share photos, music and videos
- Publish or post online text material or writeup
If you really think, this is what SocNets are all about. No rocket science! But why are they so popular? Very simple. First of all, the work life balance is something shifting more towards and around one’s online life. The gap between life at work and home is narrowing faster. Secondly, the simplicity of communication that SocNets provide is just amazing. It makes ‘talking’ to 100s of your contact such an easy process (Don’t be surprised if people living in the same house talk lesser and lesser directly but do even that via the computer)
Blogs vs SocNets
Now, think about blogging and blogging platforms. They are all about publishing text material and of late even videos and podcasts. Many of them also store and share photos, and even started incorporating chat widgets and integration with other communication channels. Blogs stand for a bunch of audience with similar interests. While there are 1000s of social network sites around, there are already millions of blogs that cater to their specific audiences.
Blogging platforms such as WordPress is already having multi-user capabilities and evolving so fast in terms of other feature additions. The way people interact within the blog will soon change beyond the current way of commenting. Moreover micro-blogging is synonymous to short text based social networking.
All the above indicate that blogs will soon transform into social networking sites (of course with more priority on text publishing). Many of those big social networks may still be there but blogs will become smaller social networks with added networking and communication capabilities. I even feel that in the future, social media and social networking will become one and the same.