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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Social Networking Saturation

It's official: we have passed the point where social media networks are a novelty, and we now have more choices for sharing our lives and interests with others than the market can sustain.

Now we've got former Netscape guru Marc Andreessen offering "Ning" (where did that name come from?) a free social networking site. And there's also, "a safe haven for women to communicate to one another and have fun." They'll have fun screening to keep the men out. Video search engine Blinkx is developing, which focuses on uploading and sharing images to cell phones. These are just in today's news, so you can imagine how many social networking sites have been launched so far this year.

While MySpace will likely endure, we won't see dozens of social networking sites around in a few year's time. Social networking functions (sharing comments, photos, recommending content) are being woven into existing content sites, and that's where the long term interest (and money) will be.

Instead of starting home pages on multiple social net sites, most netizens will just use the existing tools on the sites they already visit, such as news (including digg, delicious, etc), sports, music and others. Quality content that enables user participation is the better model instead of building cool tools and hoping that users will generate the content that people will want to ingest. Advertisers will have more faith in buying space on the Washington Post's social networking pages than on start up sites. We don't need anymore social networking sites -- we need the best ideas to be used on the sites that we know and love.

By John Gartner at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

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