Yes we are all hooked on to Facebook and Twitter, maybe some of us more than others, but what does the future hold for social networking? It’s interesting, but if you were to look at it, online virtual worlds are becoming a lot like social networking sites. I was reading Shawn Fanning’s remarks on online games and it got me thinking about social networking in a virtual world. His technology Rupture attempts to connect gamers together via a common API/Interface. Your typical online game will probably feature quest and sub-quests; not your typical social networking activities. That said, the idea of having “social networking” in a virtual word is not something new. Second Life is probably the best example of how future social networking could be. To me a future 3D social networking virtual world would be something that I can log on to and create applications for. Something like a 3D Facebook, something having it’s own API that can be coded to. While Second Life does offer some capability to create your own content, what is needed is probably much more. How about allowing me to create my own little game in a 3D world? Maybe a full online game inside the service itself, something along the lines of a Facebook app/game. Ah! That would be amazing indeed!
Not all social networking users are actual gamers — but in a way they are. Most people will often end up playing those small little games or interact with others apps which give you an often ridiculous score that users like to brag about to other users/friends/community members. “Ooh lookey here, I have an IQ equal to Einstein” or “Joe Facebooker got 2,000,000 points on SomeApp” are all too common. People like to compete — and at the same time also like to interact, join communities. What current SN sites do is allow people to build communities and groups easily and rapidly — the two most important aspects for a success of an online game! With the advent of sites like Facebook, literally 100s of online games and apps have found easy adoption without needing to worry about things like server programming, latency, hosting, hardware, and you name it. The list goes on. However the most important thing they have cashed in on is an easier way to build communities for their products. Creating an online game/app today is not an easy task, besides the obvious engineering difficulties it is equally difficult to build successful community around an online game/app. Some future service that abstracts all these aspects and allows people to easily and rapidly build apps and games would probably be the social networking virtual world of tomorrow.