All in Associations

Overlapping and Evolving Online Communities are becoming the Rule, Not the Exception

I received an email last night from a reader of this blog asking me to comment on cost estimates he had received for the development of a new social networking service. He wants to offer targeted services to a specific but large population segment. His thinking corresponds with a lot of interest people have these days for applying social networking techniques in a profitable or meaningful way to different population groups — young people, old people, professionals, managers, sports enthusiasts, podcasters, jobseekers, lonely hearts — you name it. If there isn’t already a MySpace/YouTube/Linkedin clone targeting any group that can write a check or reach a keyboard, there soon will be.
One question I have is how long "social networking" can be a viable business given its steady march into the mainstream. As more and more of our personal and online communications become potentially definable, acquirable, and -- what's really important -- sharable in social networking terms, social-networking-enabled communications will become the norm. When that happens, social networking "features" become commodities and, following basic economics, prices are driven down.