- Internet & the Web
Social networking or online business, the future of internet usage based on current trends
First of all I believe that the very idea of predicting anything based on trends is a slippery slope. Trends are what you make of them, for example let's look at web browser usage. Firefox has been steadily gaining users against Internet Explorer over the past several years. Now depending on how you read this trend you could come up with very different predictions.
You could read this as predicting Firefox will eventually become the only browser as it gains a little percentage of the market every year it is only natural that eventually it will peak at 100% usage. The trend could also be read as this, Internet Explorer will always remain the dominant browser as predicted by the fact that no other browser has yet gained enough on their market share to truly threaten them.
Now with that bit of clarification (or obfuscation, hard to tell sometimes with my writing) behind us let's look at the future of internet usage.
It is my opinion that business is now and will always be the dominant factor in web usage. Why you might ask? well if you look at 99% of the web sites out there they exist to generate an income of some kind. Perhaps not for you or for me but for someone they are earning money. This is true for social websites, game sites, blog sites, porn sites and even most information type sites. Almost all of them make money, through advertising, subscriptions or both.
Perhaps your question is aimed more at just the trend of surfing habits of individuals? In that case I would have to guess that business will still reign supreme.
Once again this begs the question of why? Well it is my opinion that in most households there will always be an adult who will have the internet (or so they claim) primarily to do research and email for work/education. By the same token there will also be other household members who will wish to surf for social websites, email, IM, blogging, gaming and of course porn. However the head of the household, the person paying for the connection will tend to dominate the computer usage and as explained above that will be claimed as "business" related.
Also to be taken into consideration should be all the businesses that are not web based who use the web to share and to gather information.
So right or wrong it is my opinion that the future of web usage has been and will be business related.