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The Social Startup Bubble Is About To Burst, Says Forrester

CEO discusses "social saturation" at LeWeb

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The Social Startup Bubble Is About To Burst, Says Forrester
[ Social Media]

If you’re looking to be the next big thing in social media, too bad says one analyst.

Forrester Research CEO George Colony, speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris, identified social saturation as the main reason underlying his poor prognosis of the social web.

“Social is running out of hours. Social is also running out of people,” he said.

Is it true that people are encumbered with social networks? Social media overload, you might say? Not only that, but is it also true that there are no new markets for social startups to pursue? Have we reached a point of saturation?

Here are a couple of his slides (based on Forrester research) showing social adoption in various locations around the world. As you’ll see, it looks like there simply isn’t a lot of room for new social startups. Whether it’s Twitter & Facebook or Sina & Renren occupying people’s time – the point is that there are already so many social services available that we’ve hit a point where the market simply cannot take any more.

In urban areas of places like India and Russia, social adoption is nearly 100%. Even in the countries with the least social adoption on the graph, nearly 3/4 of the population is active on some sort of social site.

Forrester predicts that the social bubble that we are currently in will soon burst. And when it does, expect lesser social networks to fail:

We are in a bubble for social startups. This is going to sweep away some of the nonsense, like FourSquare. We are going to move to a post-social world that’s a little like the Web in the year 2000. A lot of companies launched, but they did not survive.

Ouch, Foursquare.

Apparently, this all leads way to a “post social world.” And these are the types of startups that will rule the landscape once the bubble bursts.

What do you think? Is there any room for more social media startups? As a population, do we even have time for more? Let us know in the comments.

The Social Startup Bubble Is About To Burst, Says Forrester
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  • http://twitter.com/hinsel hinsel

    Good I say! GOOD!
    Honestly, I don’t have the time to devote to developing the “next big thing” in social media anyway… ; )

    That doesn’t mean someone else isn’t…but I think you’re right, we’re SO saturated; the bubble will pop, if in some rights it hasn’t already done so.

    The online world is very fad heavy, this is easily seen in it’s viral nature and the here today gone tomorrow aspects of it’s very existence.

    However I think while the giants of SM that ride out the storm may well see some golden time ahead creation of new social media platforms will not cease but rather be forced to become even more innovative in order to keep from being just more of the same ole same ole.

    In a few years we’ll be looking back from whatever the new platform is at the time and saying “Gosh, remember when we used to actually LIKE Facebook!?” (hell, for some that’s happening right now)

    Good article! Enjoyed it! Ramble On!

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  • http://www.aboutourwork.com David Hunegnaw

    The major social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, etc.) largely ignore the small business community focusing instead on friends, big brands, checkins, and job seekers.

    This is why we created AboutOurWork.com which is the first social business network built exclusively for small business community. Small businesses can create a Business Profile, connect with others then graphically visualize those connections giving them the credibility and visibility necessary for success.

    • http://yougottacall.com Tim Tracey

      Interesting, Dave.

  • /// ted

    Bubble? Methinks the social media is fraught with ego, BS, and hot air.
    Chatter reigns. Smoke & mirrors everywhere! IMHO, anyhouuu….

  • http://www.charitymusic.org Charity Music Inc

    Article is Write On. We have already experienced it in the nonprofit sector.