Thursday, February 19, 2009

London Open Coffee and the future of social networks

Had lots of stimulating conversations at London Open Coffee today (yes I know you are supposed to gather essential info and move on but I relish meeting so many interesting people and am not going to waste the opportunity, so there).

First, checkout the amazing light sculptures at from Ivan Markovic, who is an Adobe expert and an Acrobat guru.

Touched on the future of employment and work with Livia and Azita from Eat Your Cake who do job-sharing for professionals. Given the current outlook, are few jobs going to be shared by more people or will the unemployment figures rise?

I look forward to meeting Wendy Deaner to talk more about network marketing and where that might be going.

BobbyHathiramani is developing some pools (betting) software and is looking for the best business model.

Michael O'Shea has a website that does cool presents for small people, and we agreed it would be great to be paid just for being interesting!

Andrew Gerrard has a great new business card, minimalist - how to contact him and how he likes his coffee... We also had a far ranging conversation about the future of social networking. We agreed that similar to your local community network (that not everyone has these days) it requires investment of time and energy to get the rewards and having experience of both an online network and a strong local community network (thank you all those neighbours who turned out, many more than once, in the middle of the night to get injured horse back on it's feet last year), I wonder if we generally have only a finite amount of time/energy to invest in our networks and tend to make a choice between on or the other? Myself, I would say if I'm at home in Ireland, I focus on my "real" network, but if I'm in London, where I don't know my neighbours even, I focus on my online network. Is this a generational thing, or a character thing?

We also considered whether the last 50 years of an increasingly peripatetic lifestyle for many in the developed world, is a natural evolution or an exception. Traditionally the younge leave the nest and many return when it is time to marry and settle down. But these days people are expected to move with their work, or their next step up the property ladder. Are we living in perpetual youth? Is there a natural need to belong to a community and because we don't expect to stay anywhere long, is this what is driving the desire to invest in online communities? If we had the opportunity to become more rooted in our local communities, because we could work locally or from home, would online social networks become less important as we invested in our local community or would they continue in parallel? Lots of questions to ponder!

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