Corporate America embraces social networking

There’s a great piece at Inside Bay Area this week entitled on how Corporate America is embracing social networking. The story focuses on the increase in customers for Visible Path and the in-house social networking being developed by IBM called “Fringe”.

The jury is still out whether any of the fledgling MySpace wannabes for the business world can prove the concept works as well in the business world as it has for young people’s social lives.

But a sudden jump in customers at Visible Path and the success of an in-house social network that IBM Corp.’s San Jose research center created seem to suggest a model that works in the business world — to connect individuals in existing yet far-flung and dispersed networks.

I think the phenomenal growth of both LinkedIn (7.5 million members) and openBC (nearing 2 million) should be considered, as well. LinkedIn’s membership represents about the same order of magnitude of their target demographic (business professionals) as MySpace does of theirs (everybody). I don’t think there’s any question at this point as to whether the concept works well in the business world — it’s just a matter of how it will take shape moving forward.