Big technology success is typically a history of backlash and reaction, and then reaction to the original reaction. That is to say, people get sick of the old, and want something totally new.
It’s not about technology — it’s about human nature.
Facebook has made many people (or at least me) somewhat nauseated with the brand of Panopticon-esque, narcissistic oversharing that the popular social network feeds off of.
That’s great, you just checked in at Panera/got engaged/are watching House re-runs. Who cares?
Also, there’s no real possibility of debate or meaningful connection when everyone fears the ignored status update, and chases the update or photo that gets a bunch of light blue “thumbs up” Likes. Users are playing for their audience.
The next social network success, if there is one, will go the opposite route: anonymity is power. Say what you want, let the crowd decide if it’s worthy. Who you are, where you are, and what you just ate/did/married do not matter. It will be more Fight Club than post-collegiate materialist brag fest.
The idea, and the content you’re sharing, are all that matters.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why Reddit’s traffic is skyrocketing, reportedly hitting 1.2 billion pageviews per month at this point. On Reddit, it doesn’t matter who you are, and you can hide behind a silly user name if you’d like — as you could back in the “golden age” of the Web.
But best of all? Stuff gets done on there. They saved a man’s wedding. They gave a girl with terminal cancer good memories. And they showed me a couple thousand cool cat GIFs.
All semi-anonymously. In death, a member of Project Mayhem has a name. His name is Robert Paulson.
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