Social networking sites are not just a fad

Many people have said that pure social network sites are a fad, and a dead fad at that. However, Hitwise reports that the market share of U.S. Internet visits to social-networking Web site MySpace

“skyrocketed 1,252 percent the week ending Feb. 19, 2005 versus the same week last year (ending Feb. 21, 2004). MySpace is currently the 12th most visited Web site, and its traffic share is more than 12 times greater than other popular services, including its next closest competitor, Friendster.”

Details here: USERS REDISCOVER THE BUZZ OF SOCIAL NETWORKING

Social network sites can be successful if they offer the ability to have substantive dialogue and the opportunity to monetize that traffic in some way (preferably beyond just advertising). Very few people want to connect just to connect; most people want to do more.

As another model, Amazon derives great benefit from its social network functionality because members get several real benefits:
+ ego recognition of being an expert in a space
+ suggestions for worthwhile books
+ opportunity to connect with likeminded people
+ opportunity to do a favor for authors they respect.

Similarly, MySpace has rich enough functionality that it offers substantive ways to build relationships with people, not just click ‘i’m your friend–yes/no’, like Friendster. Their integration of blogs, etc., is also smoother than Friendster’s newly-introduced blog feature set.