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Social networking and the open business revolution

It's in thinking about it, worrying about it, and making use of it in building companies where social networking sites will make their revolution, not on Wall Street.

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I am a member of both LinkedIn and Ryze.

Every once in a while I get an invitation from some member there to connect. I usually do. I don't obsess over it, I don't even think much about it.

It's in thinking about it, worrying about it, and making use of it in building companies where social networking sites will make their revolution, not on Wall Street.

Despite the current hype over its Intelligent Applications Platform and joining of Google OpenSocial, I see little evidence this revolution has really gotten off the ground.

I keep going back to what IBM's Alan Leposky told me last summer. The big change occurs after the platform is extended to key customers and partners. It's not a magic bullet. The most important thing you can create is a directory.

This is the difference between social networking and business networking. I have been using LinkedIn for the former. Making it happen in the latter case takes a lot more than software.

It takes trust. Trust doesn't happen on a Web page. It doesn't happen when you Google someone. It's a product of time and experience.

Maybe, by bringing in news and personalization which leads people to spend more time with it, LinkedIn can make this trust happen.

But despite all the hype the case is not yet proven. When LinkedIn talks to the media, it's always about membership and new features.

When they start bringing in case studies of people and companies who were made glorious through their use of the resource, then the revolution will have begun. Not before.