There’s a swelling buzz online attached to “social networking.” The idea behind social networking is that if you give folks an easy, organized way to represent themselves and their friends or colleagues, the resulting network will be something that’s valuable to the participants. Presumably then, the hosting Web site can capture a piece of that value and these pieces will add up to real money.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented network. It indicates it can help you “find a job, find consulting or contracting positions, hire employees or contractors, investigate deals with companies, find information about industries,” and discuss propositions about new ventures or products.
Friendster is more of a dating / hookup network, advertising its ability to let you “meet new people to date, through your friends and their friends, make new friends and help your friends meet new people.”
These services are still in their formative stages, and competitors are already popping up across the Web. It remains to be seen if these become the next Pets.com, or the next eBay. If they do take off, there’s a benefit to the entertainment company that can take advantage of these pre-formed word-of-mouth tools; the right ad campaign can get quite the boost on Friendster. And if the campaign falls flat … use LinkedIn connections to find your next industry job.
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