Social networking is the defining phenomenon of our times. Almost a billion people worldwide are on some form of social network, chatting with friends, meeting new people and sharing information.
It wasn’t long ago that friends had use internet chat rooms and MSN messenger to communicate over the internet, usually in quite a private way.
But then Friends Reunited came along, followed by MySpace, followed by the world’s favourite social network – Facebook.
Such is the popularity of social networking, sites like Twitter and Facebook can have a real influence on our lives, especially if they change something about their sites.
So what can we expect from Mark Zuckerberg and friends next year? Here is our pick of the top social networking trends for 2012.
Social networking above the clouds
Social networking looks set to go into the clouds in 2012. No, we aren’t talking about cloud computing. Airline KLM has announced it is to launch a ‘meet and seat’ service for passengers.
Whether they are smelly, noisy, chatty, or a bit elbow-y, who you’ll sit next to on a flight is always a gamble. KLM has decided to change all this with ‘meet and seat’.
This service is tied in with Facebook and LinkedIn, and will allow people to view the profiles of other passengers to help them choose who to sit next to. It is a genius idea, but whether it actually works will be seen when the service is launched next year.
After being revealed at f8 earlier this year, we hardly heard anything of Facebook’s Next Big Thing. But the Timeline is finally being released to the masses this week.
Even the slightest change in Facebook’s layout is met with a barrage of complaints from users, so Facebook is certainly taking a risk with this completely new image.
The Timeline is still in its early days, so expect tweaks, changes and updates throughout 2012 as the mother of social networks fine-tunes its new feature.
Google+ down the pan?
Hailed as a ‘Facebook killer’ by the search giant, Google+ has failed to become the social networking force they had hoped for.
User uptake has been slow, despite Google practically shoving it down our throats every time we opened Gmail, and many industry experts are predicting its collapse in 2012.
Google adamantly denies these allegations, obviously. It says that Google+ is just getting started, and point out that when it launched it was the fastest growing social network in history.
But it can’t deny that popularity has waned since then, and it will have to do something special to turn things around next year.