iWorld by Sharad Agarwal

Network, Network, Network

Social networks are seen as keys not only to individual success, but also to achieving organisational goals

In the real estate market, the key is Location, Location, Location. In the internet world, the USP is, NETWORK. The web has gone social and even the Fortune 500 Companies are using social networking sites to promote their online presence. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding social networks these days and companies have been quick to get in on the action by establishing profiles on these web sites to promote their products and services. While social networks can indeed be great vehicles for business, it’s important to know which networks are worth your time and how to take advantage of their various features.

Some major global organisations are making key investments in social networks and are integrating networking approaches into existing services. Here are some recent acquisitions:

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. purchased Intermix Media, owner of networking portal MySpace.com, which is already the fifth most popular U.S. domain on the Internet.

Yahoo, which bought eGroups a few years ago, recently bought Flickr and has now launched Yahoo360 as "one place to keep the important people in your life connected to you" by sharing a blog, photos, recommendations, and opinions.

Amazon, which has been pursuing a social network approach to marketing from its very inception, has invested in 43 Things.

Monster Worldwide, the recruiting service, bought Tickle, a popular testing and matchmaking site.

It is high time that businesses in the Middle East start capitalizing from the growing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Ryze and LinkedIn. Networking sites can build brands and drive targeted customer traffic to destination sites. It is becoming increasingly important to analyse the engagement matrix and efficiency of the Facebook applications in building online communities. In general, business networking sites let you search for contacts in your field, create online address books, and participate in forums.

Facebook is the second most-trafficked PHP site in the world and one of the largest MySQL installations anywhere, running thousands of databases. Facebook has built a lightweight but powerful multi-language RPC framework that allows us to seamlessly and easily tie together subsystems written in any language, running on any platform.

Some of the popular applications being integrated in the web portals include 'Top Friends', 'Super Wall', 'Living Social', 'Causes', 'Marketplace', 'MyCalendar', 'iLike', 'Videos', 'Movies' and 'Music'.

Users of current generation Windows Mobile 6 phones and Blackberries can also use the Facebook applications. The mobile users can upload video to their Facebook pages directly from a phone. Users can also create wall posts, share photos, send messages and update profile pictures from the application.

We can see where online social networking is taking us-toward greater specialization in content, localization, and interoperability with mobile devices (with the incorporation of their functions into major portals and search engines).

Certainly, the recent crop of social networking sites is moving the Internet along in its continuous quest to reinvent itself, perpetuating the permanent tension between commercial media forces that tend to want to organize the Internet on behalf of its users and savvy grassroots forces that want to use the Net as a forum for self-expression.

Send your views to sharad@cyber-gear.com

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