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Socialising with Scoble

Rory Cellan-Jones | 09:50 UK time, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Who do you go to for a view of the future of social networking?

How about a man who has over 100,000 Twitter followers and 1,300 or so Facebook friends - and that's after a recent cull.

A man who spends much of his day in front of a series of screens at his California home constantly monitoring and contributing to the social networking conversation about technology trends.

That man is Robert Scoble, technology blogger and networker extraordinaire, and I visited him at his house a few hundred yards from the Pacific at Half Moon Bay for a chat about the prospects for the networking companies in 2010.

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As we talked, he kept up a constant flow of tweets, Facebook messages and blog comments, many about the upcoming news from Google - their press conference about the Nexus One phone is later today.

It was instructive to see this story ebbing and flowing across his multiple screens, like watching the beating heart of the techie conversation which seems to move faster by the minute.

As someone who has devoted far more of his time recently to Twitter than to Facebook, I expected Robert - or scobleizer as his Twitter handle goes - to be backing the 140 character service.

But he was in little doubt about who would triumph in the battle of the networks. "Facebook is dramatically bigger," he pointed out and went on to admit that Twitter is largely populated by geeks like him, while "real people" were on Facebook.

He also pointed out that Facebook was becoming an identity system, allowing its users to sign into various other sites or comment on blogs with their logins. With the average user already spending 55 minutes a day with the network, Facebook is trying to make them stick around even longer.

But Scoble thought that if there was a threat to Mark Zuckerberg's business it was from Google not Twitter:

"They have a new thing called Google profiles, which they haven't done much with yet - imagine if they coupled that with a news feed and real time search."

2010 could be the year that social networking comes of age, finally proving there's money to be made from friends and followers.

Facebook might float on the Nasdaq, Twitter may come out with the business model "secret sauce" to convince the doubters, and who knows perhaps there'll be a miracle recovery at MySpace.

But if Robert Scoble is to be believed we should also keep an eye on Google - the search giant just can't help butting in to every corner of the tech conversation.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is the video UK-only or something?

  • Comment number 2.

    Interesting article.

    It will be interesting to see what the social networking world will pull out of their hats, but I think things will remain relatively the same for the time being.

    Twitter, I think is a fad at the moment; and no doubt some bright spark will come up with another idea that everyone will think is “super duper” and that will be the new “in thing” for another 18 months, and then something else will come along and so on.

    Social networking sites; I feel have a limited shelf life. In that people get bored of it, or something else comes along and surpasses what the other social networks have and because the general public are fickle things meaning that Facebook/twitter get’s dropped and this new site is the “in thing”.

    I don’t like the idea of “identity systems” that allow users of say: Facebook to sign in to 100’s of other sites. Because if your like me; you use different passwords for different sites and I would feel uncomfortable putting my Facebook username and password into a site I don’t know nor heard of.

    I would be more inclined to sign up with a new email address and password and keep the two sites separate with no “profile linking” on either part.

    That’s my two cents, and yes, for some unknown reason the video is not working, and I am in the UK

  • Comment number 3.

    Very interesting interview - and Robert Scoble comes across an altogether gentler, nicer person than his Twitter persona. It's ironic that he considers Facebook to be the Gorilla of the social networking world because I know he's had his run-ins in the past with Facebook and has been very keen to push the virtues of Friendfeed.

  • Comment number 4.

    Scobble's point about the potential threat of Google Profiles to Facebook is interesting. Facebook, with its new privacy policy, seems to be on a quest to make users' information as public as possible. Imagine that sort of "openness" applied to one's Google account.

    Have you looked at your Google Dashboard lately?

  • Comment number 5.

    The Nexus One isn't really a game changer from what I've seen it has some serious limitations that immediately put me off buying it such as only having 512mb of interal memory which is expandable via SD Card, but you can only install applications on the 512mb of space.

    If they fix that, they might be in with a better chance of competing with the iPhone, but at the momment I don't think Apple have absolutely anything to worry about.


  • Comment number 6.

    The embedded video isn't working (in the UK) ... though we can imagine Scoble flitting from screen to screen like a modern day David Lightman!


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