October 29, 2010

Social Networking Expected To Continue To Develop

According to leading figures in the development of Facebook and Twitter, the social networking phenomenon has nowhere to go but up as computer use becomes more mobile.

"Two to five years from now, the whole question of what other social networks you use will be moot, because it will all be social," Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, said in Boston on Thursday.

"Social is becoming the frame, the filter to a lot of information," Hughes, 27, said during a panel discussion at the Charles Schwab "Impact 2010" investment conference.

Facebook has over 500 million users and is the largest social networking site in the world.  Twitter has over 165 million users.

Both companies are privately held, and investors are on constant alert for any sign that either will go public.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, told Reuters the expansion of social networking would closely track a rise in personal mobile devices like smartphones to replace personal computers.

"I would like to see a lot less people hunched over computers in their offices in five years," said Stone, 36.

Hughes said applications like Facebook Connect would continue to be weaved into the way social networking works.

Facebook Connect users going to The New York Times' website can now see which articles their friends are reading and recommending.

"With a few clicks you're having a social experience," Hughes said, adding that the functionality can be a way to cut through information overload that many struggle with.

"There is no better filter than people that you know and trust," he said.

Stone has 1.6 million followers on his Twitter account.  He told Reuters that he likes to follow the Twitter feed of Sockington the Cat, a Waltham, Massachusetts feline with a knack for clever repartee.

Stone said that the microblogging service "is not going to be a triumph of technology -- it's going to be a triumph of humanity ... the growth potential is there from a positive change perspective, not just a business perspective."


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