After fixing the foundations of the socio-economic system in the last ten blog-posts, we now get back to the serious business of forecasting, guiding and creating the future.
When Friends Reunited was launched, I had a go and made contact with people from primary school (age 5 to 11) and secondary school (age 11 to 16) all the way back to 1947 onwards. It was interesting and we few aging survivors even planned a reunion - but it never happened. After 6 months the communications faded away. Applying hope over experience I joined Linked-In and built up about 50 business contacts until the website took an unauthorised £180 from my card (which they repaid) and I cancelled. Invitations arrive weekly from several other business networks that seem to know my birthday, age, height, weight and legendary priapic prowess that their half-price miracle medications would boost - which I ignore. Undaunted - on baffling advice about "viral marketing" I have joined Facebook, to sell my E-novels, set up this blog and I have a Twitter account.
Facebook is primarily for students - ages about 18 to 25 looking for parties and partners - or so it seems to me. I am daily offered friendships with dozens of beautiful girls and handsome boys, fifty or more years younger than me. I ignore most of them, except close family connections, to avoid being embarrassingly tagged as either a potential paedophile, a good old fashioned predatory dirty old man or a totally self-delusional old fool. A few Facebook friends are massive commercial corporations, whose friendship fluctuates with the amount of money I spend with them. None of my "friends" admit to sharing any of my interests or aims - Futurology, Physics, Science-News, Comparative Religions, Internet, Socio-Economic Systems; which redefines friendship as I understood it. Perhaps it is more like family?
Facebook has cleverly provided all the millions of members with their own free websites. Free so far. Many members already have/had a website.
Several of these social-networks have made it into big business - crowned last week by Mark Zuckerberg's spectacular launch of Facebook - UNIVERSITY TERM REPORT - "Very Well Done - No Need To Try Harder". But what will happen next? What of the future?
I guess that like Friends Reunited, the members will age and move on. They will find little more to say to each other or to boast about themselves. Younger members, school leavers going to university - also seeking parties and partners - will replace them. Thus there will be a fast "churn" rate, which is the expensive bane of all membership clubs, gyms etc. There will be an "event-horizon" where so many millions are on Facebook that it will be a "so what?" status. When everyone wins the badge - it distinguishes no-one. Facebook might evolve with its members, it might hold their loyalty, it might find a vital service or product it can sell them - to pay its bills. Facebook might become another Amazon or Google but it will not replace the internet. Or, it might be buried at the back of the stationery cupboard with all the other dusty, tired, old address books.
Who will dream up tomorrow's social-network successful business-model?