My guess is that in ten years from now, Facebook will still be around, but with a different purpose. It will be just like telephone books used to be a few years ago: A register with the most important contact information of all of us. Though the conversations will take place on different channels.
Why should that happen? I suppose that being listed at a stock exchange will put pressure on Mark to get money from the data he has on his servers. A result will be that people are more careful with what kind of information they give to Facebook. That’s just a feeling and time might prove me right.
Where could conversation take place? I really like the idea of Diaspora, that everyone is owner of his data. The problem right now is that most of the people don’t own a server. That is why I ask myself: Why not offer a server plus Diaspora account for one Euro per month and one month for free for every friend you recruit? Already today but even more in future being disposer of one’s data might be worth some money.
Bloomberg Businessweek about Diaspora (in an article worth reading):
In 2011 the company earned $5.11 per user, primarily by serving up targeted ads.
They kept talking about where to go, how to be more product-focused, and how Diaspora’s decentralized structure makes it different. Without knowing it, Diaspora was starting to play around with the ideas that had been percolating at other startups. When you own your own data, new possibilities open up: You can learn from it and profit from it. Startups are trying to see if those added benefits can shake users out of their complacency.
One model getting attention is so-called personal data lockers, which let people aggregate their data and selectively share them with businesses they trust. A new startup, Personal, has $7.6 million from funders including Steve Case’s Revolution venture fund and another locker, Singly, recently closed a $7 million round. Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the global cooperative that processes wire transfers between banks, plans to start testing its own locker.