My research paper for COM530 is focused on the future of social networks and privacy. As the project is coming to a close (the final product is due on October 28th), I can look back and reflect on some of the trends that I observed when compiling my research for the paper.
Trends related to the future of social networks involve the idea of augmented reality, in which social media platforms will likely begin to move into a more seamless, integrated existence in the lives of humans.
In addition, it is probable that there will be more crossover between various social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While debates are ongoing about which companies will hold the power as brokers of one’s social identity online, there is a general consensus that these companies will be ones that are already in existence, well-established and sites that already hold a large amount of data about users (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Facebook…etc).
In terms of privacy issues associated with the future, it will be necessary for existing laws to be updated to protect personal data available on social networking Web sites. Talks are currently underway in the United States that could lead to the establishment of a Web privacy bill by as early as November.
The new legislation will seek to hold Web sites accountable to all personal data they collect about users. If the law is passed, this could make for a complete turn-around in the argument about control of data on the Web. Many privacy issues could potentially be eliminated.
I am leaving you with the conclusion of my research paper. Hopefully it will provide an adequate summary of my report and key trends found in my research:
“It seems probable that social networks will continue to move towards a state of augmentation—integrating themselves into the Semantic Web and allowing for users to cross between multiple open platforms. As online communication technologies become more advanced, users’ social graphs will likely build themselves. The Metaverse Roadmap creators have speculated about the potential for social networks to become fully-integrated with 3D, VR worlds in the next 20 years. For most of these potential future scenarios, the technology already exists. The challenge lies more in the cooperation of corporations and online businesses that may have to relinquish some of their power and control to allow for a more complete and flexible open Web platform. However, privacy issues must advance as well. The United States has fallen behind the advances of Canada and the European Union in terms of its lack of action to extend existing privacy legislation to protect users’ personal data online. This is imperative as technology moves forward and more data becomes available to third parties and external applications on social networks.”