Current social media businesses like Facebook and Twitter make money from exploiting a very primitive social technology which will eventually fall to more sophisticated new hi-tech methods. The ability to anticipate future social technology is essential for those wanting to make money while providing useful services to society.
The advanced social technology of the near future will make use of a lot of mathematics, like any advanced technology. This technology will be covered by patents, but exactly how it works will probably be a trade secret, for fear of imitation, as with Google, which actually does use quite a bit of mathematics. Advanced social technology will use a lot of the methods developed in the Social Sciences, for data collection and correction, the massaging of data, along with data mining. For social networking, the sophisticated computational methods of graph theory, (a technical term for what the public might call network analysis) will be employed, using existing sophisticated algorithms and probably many new ones.
The difference between advanced social technology and the primitive kind represented by Facebook will be like the difference between the research and development of modern advanced medicines compared with the primitive patent medicines of over a century ago. Social media like Facebook and Twitter clearly reduce the signal to noise ratio, burying our own needs and preferences in a sea of noise.
There are various ways in which a belief in new hi-tech social technology could lead to financial success, perhaps even overwhelming financial success. One level would be the “garage” entrepreneur, the technical person with ambitions, who develops new technology from home. Several people have gotten extremely wealthy doing so, those who had the insight, skills and dedication.
At the other end of the scale are those would make money simply by investing in businesses which offered hi-tech social capabilities. If Yahoo decided to support and incorporate advanced social technology all the way, while Facebook decided to continue with its medieval technology and Google rejected it completely, then buying Yahoo stock while selling Facebook and Google short could bring in a lot of money.
Somewhere between these extremes is the serious entrepreneur, someone with money to start up and invest in a new high-tech social venture. This person would contact good technical people, provide them incentives and support them with management and support staff instructed to interfere as little as possible with the experts, then seek for ways to either market the product or the enterprise as a whole.
One form of social technology, described in the book of that name, is in making predictions about the future. For a quick look at that, see the Commercial Applicationspage at the main Social Technology site.