Is Social Networking a Fad?

In the last 24 months social networking has seemingly come to a head of steam.  Facebook, MySpace and Bebo have been around for a number of years, but in addition we now have the likes of LinkedIn for professional networking and any number of micro-blogging and commentary sites.  This is not to mention Twitter...

Social Networking is really what the internet was invented for.  Shame it's taken the best part of 15 years to come together.  Many people now see email as a dying breed of communication, probably due to the increased 'spam', increased volume and lack of clarity it brings.  If only 65% of your emails are useful to you, you're wasting 35% of your "mail" time.  Full stop.  Time is one thing social networkers do NOT like to waste.  Everything has to be quicker, smaller and more customized.  Rapid execution is the key underlining factor.

If they're here to stay, do they need to innovate?

This bubble of attention and innovation with regards to small, simple and rapid execution based socnet sites is seemingly unstoppable.  Or is it?  Everything comes to a head at some stage, based on the product life cycle.  New sites are being created every day and any angel or VC funder is seemingly not worth their salt unless they have a social interaction or collaboration site on their CV.

The big benefit of any social networking is the mass volume of through put.  Be that members, people signed up, people viewing adverts....etc.  The gamble requires large volumes.  Without, it's just a network.  That doesn't really work.  So just a net then?  Can those volumes continue?  Well I think probably yes, but what will probably change is the level of intellectual property being invested in the original site.  By this I mean instead of just allowing large volumes of people to interact - the worker ant syndrome - the site would provide more intellectual grouping and dissemination of data and information.  This would remove the choices the individual social networker would need to make, again saving time and effort to collaborate and share.