What’s propelling the real adoption of social networks and communities?

If you ask most vendors of white label social networking products, about why they are getting so much interest from Fortune 1000 and several companies wanting to “build their own customer community” here’s the top 3 reasons I get:

1. There are board level discussions about how to tap into the “mojo” of Facebook and other networks. I know there are others that sayits because companies really want to have conversations with customers, but there are very few enlightened executives who really want to do that. Most of them really heard it from their kids and want to figure out how to leverage it.

2. There is fear of “being left out by the competition”. If our biggest competition is there, we should also be there.

3. Its become very EASY. Which is the biggest point I have to be very underwhelmed by Marc’s post on why Social Networking is not the Geocities of yesterday.

Please tell me that someone who is as visionary as Marc is NOT telling executives at large companies that a set of features separates the new thing from the old thing. That’s like saying cars are like horse carriages but with windshield, a steering wheel, etc.

a) It was extremely painful, cumbersome and boring to be “blogging” or updating your pages on Geocities. Not so with facebook.

b) My Geocities “page” was 90% text and 10% stolen (with attribution) images from the web. Facebook – photos, videos etc. – More entertaining and engaging with rich media and content.

c) Much as many people bemoan the state of broadband in US, you cannot argue that its been the main reason for the adoption of YouTube, Flickr, etc.

These are the reasons people like the new “social networks” to the old “communities”. Not a list of features that read like a speeds and feeds guide on the back of a router manual.

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