Forget joining a social-networking site. These days all the cool kids are starting their own.
Last week, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen launched new tools for Ning, his networking site.
Also last week, news wire service Reuters announced plans to launch its own version of MySpace, aimed at fund managers, traders and analysts.
Now USAToday has launched a new site with social-networking tools, including profile pages, recommendation features and commentaries.
Even hardware guys are getting into the game. The New York Times is reporting that Cisco Systems will acquire the assets of social-networking site Tribe.Net. Cisco had already made some moves in that direction, acquiring Five Across, a company that develops social-networking tools for corporate users.
Can companies like Cisco and Reuters make a go of it? Or is social networking something best left to high-school students and club kids?
Blog community response:
"News flash for Cisco: This social software thing--it is too marginal, doesn't make money and can't make you cool. Stick to what you know best--plumbing hardware--sell tons of it, make money, and learn to live with the fact that you are rich and old school."
"The demand is clearly there, as seen by Reuters' announcement today that they're looking to build their own Myspace clone, for financial types. Everyone, it seems, wants their very own social network these days."
"This is exactly the direction USA Today needs to follow. However, it doesn't go quite far enough. In addition to building these features, the media need to bridge their communities to the ones where we already spend our time. RSS, widgets and embedded content would help here. For example, USA Today should let us add our blog, Twitter or Facebook feeds or even embedded YouTube vids to our profile pages."