Monday, May 08, 2006

Social Tools for Networking

Social networking sites have become a useful and powerful medium of communicating and reaching out to people. Every day some or other new tools appear on the blogsphere. With more and more people are logging on to the sites , advertisements marketers can’t be expected to lag behind in this race for catching eyeballs and making ad revenue.However not all of them have been able to sustain and grow at expected rates.
On Knowledge & Wharton marketing professor David Bell says the long-term success of these sites will depend on their ability to retain the interest of their members. "There is a fad or a fashion component to all these networks. Some will come and go," says Bell. The classic example, he suggests, is Friendster, which burst onto the Internet in 2003 and soon had 20 million visitors. Late last year, it slipped below a million after MySpace and other sites with better music and video capability lured Friendster users away. "A lot of the [success] is serendipitous. These things can have exponential growth. Then, if another community shows up that has better functionality in some way, there can be a mass migration."

Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader agrees that social network sites are powerful, but mercurial, particularly since most are aimed at teenagers and young adults. "It's a complete crap shoot. Look how many of these have come along and how many were touted as the next big thing. How many have disappeared completely or find themselves in some strange little unexplainable niche?"

However some tools like Orkut, Ryze, LinkedIn and yahoo groups have really served as useful medium for connecting people and at times many of them have survived simply because they provided basic, uncomplicated service for user utility and functionally user friendly.

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