What future holds for the use of Flash in the Social Networking Scene?

Image: Based on one provided by http://www.thecinemasource.com.
You know what I mean when I say that places like Facebook are way deeper than just a place to take care of a virtual farm. Right? For any web developer that disses at the social networking phenomena, is close to showing off they are in a deprecated state of mind, so to speak. This huge amount of people who are turning into this huge parks (social networks, that is) where conversations are taking place, can’t be wrong. And since its agrowing platform becoming an important spot in the society, our very survival is at stake.

Now, it’s not even in discussion if Flash could be used in Social Media, because clearly its already being used. Within Facebook for instance, Flash is the most powerful plug in you can implement. When it comes to gaming, Flash is evidently the strongest weapon (ask Zynga!). So what exactly do we mean by the question that titles this post? Before answering that, let me ask something else that might give us the real clue: what is this social media buzz really about?
Well, Social Media allow us to get back to a point where we all started as humans and at certain point technology and industry generated distance from: conversations. Suddenly, social networks allow us to have direct, bilateral contact with many, in a way that nor radio or TV have never been able to do before. That explains why, normally, we don’t log in to any of these social networks to look for ads or banners, nor to read boring articles like this one, no. We dig, and connect with other peers. We talk. We listen. We exchange cooking tips. Medicine recipes. We match. Un-match. Fight. Complain. And we don’t keep fancy talk (we can even curse!). It’s Real time, cheap, with neat interfaces, and it’s free! Gee, there’s no emoticon for what I’m feeling!
Does it have to do with what we do? More than you think: it happens that markets are conversations. The most successful advertising campaigns have ‘conversational’ elements strongly related to social media. Like it or not, word of mouth is back again and then people weights in more a comment that advices them about buying something, than the banner that appears on the upper-left corner. We listen people, and that is mainly why we all signed up with whatever social media platform we are subscribed at. Figuring out a way on that scheme might mean our very survival chance. So, asking again: what is the future for Flash in this?
Adobe people seems to understand the importance of going beyond nice pics and animation, and step into the ‘conversation’. I could quote as example, their Flash Media Server Family, projected to include the possibility of rating, interacting, developing, encoding, streaming and delivering media, and interacting with it, in an atmosphere oriented to Social Media.
We could also mention the development on AIR, which might be very strengthened by using the Flash family of products, and provides tools like TweetDeck, one of the best tools made available for twitter. How’s that for a nice start?
But we could go even further: on their website, Adobe exhibits the case of WooMe, which has an interesting approach concept for interaction in a social media atmosphere. In this case, they wanted one focused on speed dating. Their philosophy states that you can know if you have chemistry with a possible new contact, by only seconds of conversation with that person. Therefore, they provide you with a little video chat to see if you could have a potential hookup. And guess who is behind that?Yes... Flash technology. We don’t need to do the speed dating thingy to admit this is such a kool human to human approach. Do we?
But wait, there’s more. Take a look at this hyperlink of a short presentation at the NAB 2010. Despite the fact that the final show was a complete mess that must have caused someone to loose a job, this attempt of a talk still allows us to have a nice outline of what might be next to come. And yes, there is a lot to be excited about, probably more to come (ever heard about Grapevine?).

That was pretty much some advance to outline an answer. But we’re just starting. This would not be much of a Social Media talk if we would not consider your thoughts, which are really valid, cause you are developer. What crosses your mind when you think of the next technological leap of faith? Any ideas you want to share? Will the real Social Media Flash Dev, please stand up?

This article was a collaboration, written for my company's internal blog. Special thanks to Emmanuel Ulloa, for the helpful information given in order to get this post done.
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D-Fusions by Javier Fernández and David Zúñiga is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at d-fusions.blogspot.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at facebook.com/dasvassen and d-verse-city.net.

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