Looking into the crystal ball, the next Powerball numbers aren't quite in focus, however, it is becoming clear that social networking (aka eCommunities) will be an important online destination for many years, gaining credibility in the business world. Why?
Simple! college kids rated Facebook.com as the #2 "IN" thing tied with beer and just behind the iPod. A web site that ranks the same as beer? Interesting and compelling! And with Myspace all the rage amongst the high schooler generation - it is clear, as these "kids" grow up they will be seeking more sophisticated eCommunities.
But why wait - eCommunities are being deployed in many different demographics and verticals - from Chrysler to aging-baby-boomers.
What does an eCommunity offer? It is an online means for people in the same demographic or interest-area to connect with each other anywhere in the world. Into the skating scene, there is icelounge.com. Suffering from cancer, there is an eCommunity sponsored by the American Cancer Society. For businesses, taping into these communities can expand their brand building and generate sales. It isn't that easy - over-promotion or an advertisement laden site will cause a negative adoption. Done right, a business can create an "online brand loyalty center".
More on this important topic - a social networking do's and don'ts - shortly.