The interesting thing about the rise of social media is the ever-changing nature of this beast. I'm constantly amazed at all the new channels that are popping up in social media. Granted, not all social media will become the next YouTube or MySpace, but organizations truly wanting to get into social media need to be aware of all that's out there and objectively evaluate whether the various forms of social media will enhance the organization's PR efforts.
It's unclear whether [Andreesen's] third effort, social-networking site Ning, will succeed. But while entering an established business is a new approach for Mr. Andreessen, there's a chance he'll once again radically change the game.
Think about it this way. Hardly anyone heard of the World Wide Web when Mr. Andreessen developed his browser. And many wondered what he was doing when he co-founded Opsware's predecessor, Loudcloud, in 1999. Automating tasks for servers in data centers seemed a tech backwater. But again, he was ahead of his time. Advances in server technologies have created a lot of work for Opsware, which explains H-P's interest.
...social networking may be particularly prone to revolutions. After all, the first commonly used service was probably sixdegrees.com, started in 1996. Friendster, which led the fray after its 2002 launch, was rapidly eclipsed. Mr. Andreessen's record suggests it would be foolhardy to dismiss his view that the next big social networking trend will be decentralization. If he's right, it would mean hot sites such as MySpace and Facebook may suffer the same fate as their now-forgotten forebears.