It seems to me that the Social Networking space is heating up. MySpace seems to be all the rage. I am certain that some organizations are trying to figure out how to flip this phenomenon into a marketing advantage. The first mention of this I have seen is MarthaSpace. I have also seen companies trying to embed some social network functionality into their Web 1.0 site.
I think the next step is to build vertical network communities with a hugh amount of functionality (blogs, RSS, OPML, Pics, video, Tags, aggregrators, etc) but using accessible metaphors (Journal vs. blog, Bulletin board vs. del.icio.us, for example). Give the community free access. Charge those that want to provide information to that community.
The community must have value in and of itself just based on the community members. As traffic to the community grows, the price content providers are willing to pay goes up. The key to making this work is to define a focused community that clearly has a common thread that content providers can clearly target.
The problem that advertisers have with something like MySpace is that there is no clear focus, almost any organization could advertise there, and the impact would not be much more effective than advertising on broadcast media.
I know what this should look like, but alas I have not have the tech skills to build it. Anyone interested in having a conversation?
Maybe creating another Social Site isn’t the answer. Maybe the approach should be some sort of vertical meta-data site that finds and aggregrates blogs and other social content from all sources. An add-on could be simple "in-house" tools for those not currently active and don’t have the resources (time, knowledge, etc.) to go about setting up their own environment. These are people that don’t care about tech stuff, they just want to engage in the conversation.