A Federation of Niches

The amazing part of reading Fred Wilson’s blog every day isn’t just Fred Wilson’s thoughts, it is the conversation that surrounds it. The video Fred posted is of Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, and one of the lines is “Twitter brings you closer.” Closer to what, of course, is the question. Serial responder kidmercury comments [no changes by me]:

what dick says about why they don’t finish the sentence — i.e. it’s up to the user to decide what twitter brings you closer to — is at the core of why i’m a twitter skeptic. i think niche social networks that answer that question for you — will bring you closer to statups, your family, baseball, etc — are much better positioned, and that we are going to a world with many such startups rather than the one world social networks of google/facebook/twitter etc.

i look forward to seeing their financials whenever the IPO stuff goes down. i believe the bigger a network gets the tougher it becomes to monetize……i.e. the wikipedia problem grows. if it really wants to bring you closer to everything, than no one can own it. and that’s why i think a federation of niche networks is what will ultimately emerge.

I don’t know whether I agree with kidmercury’s comments. I find it hard to believe that the universal companies — Twitter, Facebook, Google — are going to be replaced by niche networks. But as Instagram showed, there is clearly a “niche” network for photography and as Pinterest shows there is a “niche” network for sharing web stuff. Kid’s comment, however, is well worth thinking about.