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The End of the Web and the Emergence of "Post Social"

Those who know me know I’m a huge Fred Wilson fan, who I happen to think is one of the best community builders on the web. But that’s not the point of this post. Fred posted the following video on AVC Sunday, and 1 day later, there are over 350 comments on the post — and the video got me thinking a bit. The video was a presentation Forrester CEO George Colony gave at Le Web (a tech conference) in Paris — where he gave his prediction for the end of the web and the emergence of “post social”.

I highly encourage you to watch the 20 minute video embedded above before reading the rest of this post, but of course you can keep right on reading if you wish…

There are two primary predictions made by Colony — one I completely agree with (emergence of “post social”) and the other (end of the web) I happen to slightly disagree with.

First, let’s discuss the end of the web. I certainly understand mobile and tablets are growing like wildfire, and agree “apps” are starting to consume an increasing amount of people’s time. That said, I don’t believe the web as we know it is on the way out. Not by a long shot. Last I checked, tablets and smart phones have web browsers that are heavily used. A massive chunk of “app” time is with Facebook, Twitter, and games (please don’t get me started on what a gigantic waste of time games on your mobile devices are). Most websites never reach the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, so it seems a stretch that people will go through the process of downloading and installing an app for a site that is not a mainstay in their daily life. I think games on portable devices are largely taking time away from traditional video game consoles like Xbox and PS3 rather than time that would otherwise have been spent on the web.

But IF — and that’s a BIG IF — the web is on its way out? Then search and SEO is going to make a radical change. It means agents need to rapidly figure out how to appear up high on the list for searches such as “Seattle Real Estate” from within the Apple app search. From within Facebook’s search. From within Android’s app marketplace. From within Amazon Fire. You get the picture. We tried this walled garden approach…it was called AOL. Look how that turned out for them. But, luckily for all of us, I don’t think the extreme view that “the web as we know it is going away” will become a reality.

Second, the emergence of “post social”. Social cannot continue at its current pace. Why? There are only so many hours in the day to spend online being social — at some point we need to actually accomplish something in our day rather than scroll through endless photos of our friend’s kids on Facebook or browse the latest web 2.0 or celebrity gossip on Twitter. We are already spending more time on social sites like Facebook than just about anything else (some people practically live on Facebook), But that’s not going to stop others from trying to get us to adopt and utilize the latest and greatest new social site. The problem is there simply isn’t more time in the day for me to spend another 2 hours on “social site X or Y”. Facebook and Twitter are all I can keep up with  — I don’t even get to Google Plus (remember, you need to focus to succeed with social media) as it is. We’re going to move to a point where a site needs to add real value or it will fall off the radar almost instantaneously. If a website doesn’t help me solve a real life problem I am encountering? I don’t have time to screw around with it. In my mind, there are too many “features”, and not enough “products”.

What does post social mean for agents and brokers? Really, this is not rocket science. It means you need to add value to others lives’ with your time. It means less automation and less crap. It means you need to focus on strengthening real, true relationships. It means more followers, more friends, more likes, more +1’s are not necessarily better — since reach doesn’t guarantee listeners.

Not unlike how it now takes “real” work to sell a home (no longer can you just put a home on the MLS and sell it in a week like you could in 2000). Post social means real work to stand out online. If you can’t handle that? You’ll be lost in the noise.

What do you think? Is the end of the web near? What does “post social” mean to you?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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