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Tim:

We keep focusing on features (tools) when really what matters is the benefits (people). Although I have been working in companies where we do a lot of traditional marketing, my strength is communications and conversations. So in a way I was working the customers' room before social media ever became this phenomenon everyone is trying to get their arms around.

It boils down to what people have in common, what they need and want, how and when they wish to get there, etc. Many of the sessions at Picnic'07 I outlined in today's post get into that a little.

Valeria -

Thanks for such a rich discussion. My take on your question about the evolution of social networks is akin to one of Carly Fiorina's recent talking points: Social Networks will become invisible. (Carly suggests technology will become invisible, just as electricity and all it takes to employ it in the home is now, more or less, invisible to the end user.)

As standardization grows, and more people adopt some form of social network activity, we're bound to see the technologies disappear and content move to the forefront. We'll see social networking become a standard part of emailing, texting, mobile devices and home entertainment. It'll just become obvious to the masses.

And while this process unfolds, we'll also shake out what standards or norms are, in fact, normal and acceptable to the culture at large. Fact is, we're probably too closed now as marketers and communicators--too controlling. But through experimentation and experience, a happy balance will be achieved.

- Tim

OK, I kick off the comments. If I had to pick one of your suggested directions, I would go for "disappearing completely". Let me explain. We had this awesome network with Fast Company magazine... many of us outgrew it to go off and work on other projects. The network was a support group/community/idea lab. Each one of us found that the next level of growth was in more niche directions, the ones we focused on and pursued. What do you think?

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