Antisocial networks like Snubster began as parody; a backlash against large social networks and our fatigue in managing virtual “friends” we barely know. But there are far more powerful and systemic trends leading towards true antisocial networks. The question of where social networking is heading and where it ends is important for anyone investing or venturing online. Paradoxically, the biggest and most valuable networks will be the ones that can deal effectively with the smallest things.
My previous venture builds and manages large-scale communities. There we witnessed a constant churn of community members into smaller cliques. Even though the communities are focused on very specific interests, namely individual recording artists, cliques form around every topic imaginable, most having nothing to do with music at all.
Large networks like Facebook or LinkedIn face this fragmentation on a massive scale. But even the narrowest social network is not immune. Any service that’s organized around a static activity or interest will become fragmented as its membership grows. The reason is that the very organizing bases for social networks, the foundations for their existence, are constantly changing from within.