Micro-Social Networking: The Future of Social Media?
Screenshot from Line's website
Call it a phase, despite enhanced privacy features now we hate sharing personal stuffs on Facebook but not on a platform enabling a direct one to one interaction to the closed ones. Most of us even hate leaving a direct message on someone’s FB wall or even a direct tweet unless a moment of psychological pat/aid (e.g. birthday, a surgery etc.) is in place.
With the changed meaning of being friends on social networking platforms, on one hand there is a steep rise of scrutinized and intact use of these platforms like never before and on the other there’s a rise of OTT (over the top) services that bypasses the traditional social media and the mobile messaging services. And we can call it a phase of social networking at the micro controlled level; i.e. a micro social networking.
So, what exactly is a micro-social network?
Think of Linkedin… What is it about?
Totally dedicated to network you professionally, yes that’s what it does, targeted to something very specific. And that’s the first character of any micro-social network. They are very specific about something and smaller by the number of connections/friends allowed.
Linkedin is a type of micro-social networking platform; it has made it real big to the mainstream social networking. Without Linkedin, probably we can’t even think of professional social networking anymore.
Unlike the regular social networking platforms, the networking opportunity on these micro platforms are limited; sometime limited to match its uniqueness or even to the specific niche it is meant for, e.g. Readmill(networking for booklovers), Skillpages (networking based on skills one possesses), FamilyLeaf (for family members/relatives), etc.
When did micro-social networking start?
Date it back to the introduction of short messaging services (SMS) by mobile phone service providers. Linkedin can be named as the first-ever micro-social networking site that made it to the mainstream social media.
To mention here, the recent trend of OTT service providers like WhatsApp, Line etc. adds a new array to the micro social networking fraternity – the age of faster micro socialization with proper controls in place.
How does it differ from the contemporary social networking?
As the name says, it is micro in nature, reach and content distribution. Such a platform always initiates intimate socialization.
- Nature of Connectivity: Micro-social network platforms provide a utility of closed connectivity depending on that specific thing it is targeted on.
- No of Reach/Connection/Friends: These platforms are actually meant for smaller communities. Path, the micro-social network site, allows users to have only 150 friends.
- Content and Distribution: Mostly, there’s no difference between main stream social media and micro-social media when it comes to content. Only thing to brag here is that you don’t need to think twice about extra privacy settings while sharing since it is always meant for something very specific.
With the rise of privacy concerns and uncategorized turf in main stream social networking platforms like Facebook, Google+, we are bound to migrate to smaller networks/communities in near future for better intimate socialization. At the same point of time, the service providers must think of new ways to make it more useful, comfortable and confident for the users.
To mention again, the rise of OTT service providers is another thing that will contribute at large to the micro-social networking era ahead. With its uniqueness of intimate one-to-one (and group) sharing/socializing features, it may even cross the usage of the main stream social networking platforms in an immediate future.
Now, the question rises as – With the ever rising popularity and usage, will micro-social networking platforms replace the main-stream/contemporary social networking platforms over the years?
What do you think? Which main-stream social networking will be dead first?