December 15, 2007 10:00 AM PST

Companies warned not to rush into social networking

Many companies are thinking about how they can take advantage of social-networking technology, but analysts at Gartner are warning against getting caught up in the hype.

Businesses are advised to consider certain issues before investing in or developing internal social-networking tools. These include protecting personal intellectual property, as well as people's preference for using existing nonprofessional, external networks such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace.com.

With Facebook saying it will license its developer platform to other organizations, it also could become even easier for companies to develop their own social networks.

But the Gartner report says the hype around social networking doesn't necessarily mean it's a mature enough technology to make it a critical business requirement.

There is also little evidence that social networking will be as beneficial for businesses as other Web-based communications technology, such as instant messaging.

Ultimately, Gartner suggests, the value of social-networking technology comes from content rather than the product itself. The analysts recommend that IT departments think very carefully before committing to expensive "social-networking white elephants."

Earlier this month, business networking site LinkedIn also said it will let third parties develop applications for its site and take LinkedIn content to other sites.

Tim Ferguson of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Gartner Inc., social networking, LinkedIn, networking, Facebook

2 comments

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Social Networking
I think it's important to mention that it really depends on what type of industry you are in. If you sell semiconductors or retirement funds, it's probably not in your best interest to invest the time in social networking sites. If you are trying to appeal to young people, not getting involved in sites like Facebook or MySpace can get you behind the times. It's easy to establish a loyal client base by using these sites--it doesn't work for everyone.

Regards,
Michelle Greer
Marketing Specialist
Volusion Inc.
Posted by Volusion (1 comment )
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Social networking and innovation
?The Gartner report makes some interesting points especially about the protection of intellectual property and the importance of content. But it is important to remember that internal social networks have been around for a long time. At Brightidea.com we have been working with companies to develop successful internal socials networks for over 8 years. We?ve learned that the context of the deployment of the tools determines the content and hence the ROI. Our tools are used in the context of the innovation process, i.e, for collaboration at key points along the process. And unlike other sites and tools developed for end consumers, we provide the fine grain permission required by enterprises to enable protection their intellectual property. ? Lou Ostdiek, Brightidea.com
Posted by lou_o (1 comment )
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