However, he does suggest they make good sandboxes to learn the skills needed to implement for business use later on. It's "not what you can get out of them for gain today, but what you can learn by using them for practical gain tomorrow," says John.
He predicts that we'll see a post-bubble movement to what he refers to as "personalized business networks." Small businesses will be creating niche-targeted social networks of their own.
I agree that such a movement will take place, though I question how successful many of these can be. (And, John, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.) It takes a significant user-base to gain enough traction to make a social network viable and too small a number would limit its potential, or so it would seem.
I mean, think about it. Let's say, for example, that you visit the forums/discussion boards section of a small business socnet. If there is very little activity, what are you likely to think? There's not much going on and it's probably not worth your time to hang around, right?
It's the same with blogs. You visit a blog that has little if any comments (like, uh, this one) and you question whether the blogger has anything of significance to say. It just stands to reason.
Don't get me wrong. I'm pro small business all the way and would love to see them be successful in using conversational media as a marketing tool. (I've long held the belief that small businesses are the ones who can make the best use of blogs for marketing purposes.)
I'm optimistic this strategy will prove itself over time. I suspect that it will be a matter of trial-and-error, much as was the case with business blogs. One thing's for sure, I'll and many others will be looking to John to not only champion this movement, but shepherd it as well.
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