Social Networking > Email? Let’s Translate

Has social networking taken over from email as king of communication? Fred Wilson proclaims that it has, and adds: long live the king. (Fred draws on a Morgan Stanley report, available as a pdf.)

Fred focuses on one particular trend: social net overtakes email. I’d like to point out a couple of related trends. Neither is new, but each is interestingly related to the trend Fred emphasizes.

  • Facebook is the new AOL. Some people live inside Facebook, popping out onto the wider web when they have to. Sound familiar? It should to those old enough to remember when millions used AOL for email, chat, games, etc. Well, for Fred’s kids, and, I think, for millions of others, FB is the main inbox.
  • Connection trumps content. To quote Fred (although the emphasis is mine):

    Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or some other social networking service, I believe the lighter weight communication paradigm (say less, reach more) is superior to email for many things and I’m certainly moving more of my communications away from email.

I think that each of the above points is a reasonable translation of Fred’s proclamation that social networking has deposed email. Of course, there are other translations, and of course, I’d be delighted if you would provide more in comments. I’m not delighted with the points I make, in that neither is a particularly good thing: again, that seems like a good place to stop posting and start hoping for comments.