Betting the Web on Social Networks?

The Social Web is beginning to take shape and may look promising. I have always believed in the wisdom that web surfing is a social activity and as web-surfing becomes as ubiquitous in everyday life as showering or brushing your teeth (well, at least for me), whether it be for work, leisure and education, we are going to see convergenece of activities around offline social groups just the same way pple socialize offline by engaging in sports or going to the movies or just chilling at the beach. Replace sports with online MMORPGs/ games and watching movies with "youtubing" and gossiping with perhaps checking out each other's social network profile.

From Mediapost's "Social networks poised to shape Net's Future",

" Growth opportunities within the market will be for niche communities targeted at middle-age or young Web surfers, Rashtchy said. For example, a host of family social-networking sites have cropped up already. Rashtchy suggested that Yahoo and other portals may have to team with MySpace and others to attempt to direct their mounting influence among Web surfers.One overarching issue, Rashtchy said, is that online advertising dollars continue to lag behind Internet usage in the United States. Roughly 172 million Americans visit the Web in a month, according to ComScore, but online ad sales, expected at $16 billion in 2006, are still a small fraction of the hundreds of billions of ad dollars spent annually. In the next 10 years, this gap will close, but the spending will likely never be equivalent, Rashtchy said.

For that reason, content and communities are corners for investment and growth, Raschtchy said. The advertising gap will not likely be closed by blogs or social networks, however, researchers said. That's because blogs may contain unsavory material that marketers often don't want their products to be associated with, they said.

Mobile devices are another growth opportunity, Rashtchy said, and video will be a particular complement."

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