Friday, March 21, 2008

Social networking: Business or feature?

The subhead of the Economist story "Everywhere and Nowhere" says it all: "Social networking will become a ubiquitous feature of online life. That does not mean it is a business."

It goes on to compare social networking with email, which began as a closely-guarded service within "walled gardens" (or "fiefdoms", if you prefer) and is now an open, free service that companies like Google and Microsoft use as a loss leader to support their real business.

Along with the laundry list of social networking not working out quite as well as one might expect (or stock valuations might suggest), it points out an interesting twist: A lot of the social networking goodies -- whom you contact, how often and in what context -- are already hiding in plain sight, in your email database and address book.

It even mentions OpenID. Good stuff.

1 comment:

David Hull said...

Note to self: this doesn't seem to have aged well