What is a Third Generation Social Network?

Wikipedia describes (essentially both first and second generation) social networking services as follows:

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.

Thus, earlier generation social networks (SN) are about sending messages, sharing personal information and other content (like music files or videos clips).  Importantly, these systems include group messages and individual status reports which can either be public or available to selected group.  Second generation SNs (like MySpace and Facebook) have had modest success reaching beyond communication into fostering member activities and advancing political progress by promoting/organizing meetings or gathering petition signatures.

  Third generation social networking systems (3gSN) are designed to:
1) directly address a specific social and/or political need
2) actively meet the needs of members, while protecting their privacy 
3) use interlocking incentive programs to draw new individual members and enroll insitutional members

Third generation systems can have any of the functionality of first/second generation systems, though they usually have a more specific theme and are design to facilitate trade and political progress.  3gSNs generally have social or material incentives for new members to join as well as providing services which first/second generation systems do not.  Businesses or institutions joining 3gSNs know that they will be held to higher standards and held more accountable for their actions by joining and that they will have a greater responsibility to interact with critical 3gSN members than companies choose to have with anyone in general.  However, businesses will also  have more direct communication with a more engaged and potentially more loyal customer base.  3gSNs also reward active individual members for their work on the focus are of the network.  3gSN also reward business/institutional members for making progress stated need of the network. 

Unlike the first two generations of SNs, 3gSN are open to using human staff to review member data to offer better services, this can include interviewing new members to help them complete their profiles and reviewing wish lists.

Return to CarbonFix.Net home page