We are the generation, that became use to the internet. Internet became to a normal part of life. We watched how ebay and google conquered the net. We observed, how youtube and facebook substituted passive consumerism with active participation. We witnessed birth of web 2.0 and experienced a beginning, where everything was possible and freedom seemed borderless. The world was free beneath our fingertips, 24/7.
But this will change soon.
All information, circulating daily in the internet, need to be cheered, pampered, raised and stored in servers. Those memory devices fill huge unknown halls around the world. They need to be fed with energy, masses of energy, and need to be chilled down on cosy 20 degree.
That costs. Who pays?
Energy, staff to care, expansion, investment into new technologies, all that bills are paid with incomes from advertisements (mainly). Just that the ad is more and more ineffective. Applications like AdBlock cut out unpleasant ads, block Pop-up-windows, spams get filterd by your email system – at the bottom line, corporations will find out, that there wont be a worth to invest immense sums into such media any more. But also social networks will realise, that they have to look for profit somewhere else. Somewhere else.. this will be us.
Let’s have a look on such a possible scenario on facebooks example:
Soon PR of Facebook will introduce a new “Premium Application” for your social network. Users of this commercial(?) upgrade can enjoy specific features others can’t. Things like creating an individual lay-out of your facebook page, diverse features like blogging and audio visual “MySpace” opportunities, YouTupe connection etc. It will drag attention of the users community. Well, basically upgrades for email services exist already. But only on social networks such premium versions will have broad success. Why?
Yet Facebook is more orientated on Input. People consume messages, pictures, “huges” and relations towards friends. They observe their friends and see, what is new. Output, in means of self representation and in forms like pictures or personal data (all that how one can represent himself so far) is strictly limited. So, an individual page design would be outstanding and absolutely individual. It would be special. It gives fame and status within the group. And this is, what we want. Secondly, such a version would create a very nice way to express yourself. BBC’s “Century of Self” gives a nice impression, how important self expression is in this society. People buy individual products, drive individual cars – an individual Facebook account will hit this trend perfectly. Eventually there is the consum, that was mentioned already a few times. Not, that people will necessarily get bored by nowadays Facebook, but they have settled their friendship group. What was great and new once is routine now. Crowds will welcome new opportunities to interact with their surrounding.
Once this model will succeed, “commercialisation of the internet” will have a positive connotation to it. To pay means gaining individuality, self expression and quality.
So there seems to slumber an El Dorado in social networks. Why was the gold not digged earlier? Well, the golden city had to be built first. But now, after 10 years time, the single user is connected so tightly to all the offers, he will have to accept the new rules of commercial internet. And he will..
Grandfathers of the internet, that we are, we will think at those liberal times with a golden glint in our eyes, and tell our grandsons.