Remember AOL keywords?

Today I made a proclamation, and it was one of those proclamations that makes my wife look at me funny and wonder about whether it’s safe to leave me home alone with the cat.

I said, in five years people won’t care about any particular social network anymore. All they’ll care about is their own social profile, which will exist scattered across a whole collection of social networks. If I want to share something publicly or with friends, I won’t need to go to a particular website to do it – I’ll just send it out onto the Internet and the social networking infrastructure will figure out how to get that shared stuff in front of the people who most want to see it.

That’s the way it’s gonna go.

And while I hate to use proof by analogy, just think about what the story was with AOL…

Once upon a time every business had an AOL keyword. That went away and now every business has a little Facebook and Twitter icon in the corner of their posters. That will go away too, but Twitter and Facebook will live on in a way that AOL could not.

Whereas AOL’s closed system ultimately made it obsolete, the openness of Twitter and Facebook – and every other new social network worth caring about – will allow them to become the social infrastructure upon which other stuff gets built. Or if not them, then another company like one of them. (I don’t think the current giants are anointed, after all!)