I enjoyed reading Outsells new report on Social Media in Scientific, Technical and Medical Information Part 1: Social Networking.
The most useful aspect of the report is that it includes the most extensive list Ive seen of gated professional online networks. A trend Ive been following for a long time (and worked on while running Circle of Experts) is gated online communities for professionals. If you want to know where scientists, businesspeople, doctors, etc., are congregating online, this report can give you guidance. For another (free) list and more information on this topic, see http://leadernetworks.com/.
The report does have some holes:
– It does not discuss the millions of small online communities on the Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, etc. platforms.
– It does not include Albourne Village, the leading online community for the hedge fund/private equity sector.
– It lists only a few expert network companies in which the client pays, but omits the largest ones: Gerson Lehrman, Vista Research, Evalueserve, etc. For a longer list of expert network companies (and also great advice if you’re seeking consulting opportunities/a job), see 8 Steps to Running a Diversified Job Search on the Web.
The most insightful point in the report is that it observes the very conspicuous lack of trade associations. You would think that the industry trade associations would be aggressively building online communities for their members, but there are surprisingly few examples. There is a business opportunity in helping associations to go on-line, before they become disintermediated.
(Disclosure: Outsell recently listed Evalueserve as the fastest-growing Market Research, Reports & Services (MRRS) company globally, in a separate report.)