As note in my comment there, I see a tendency toward focusing on specific social networking sites. This limits the ability to examine and understand the phenomenon. MySpace replaced Friendster as the leader by offering what we the people demanded, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and others are trying to (and succeeding in their efforts to) redefine the space. The collection of people we relate to and incorporation of communication tools are the keys to success in this space, not “the site.”
These sites may not last forever, but we have always been engaged in social networking — now supported by technology. The top 5 SN sites could crash and burn tomorrow and we would still do what we do. It’s a revolution, and it’s here, now. Let’s usher in The Relationship Economy!
In response to the Freakonomics Quorum, Paul Glazowski has a recommendation for parents: teach kids (as well as yourselves) as much as possible about any and all networks. He observes that though a percentage of Web users find them useless, redundant, and banal, tens of millions have found such services to expedite tasks - for work or personal purposes - and essentially streamline their lives significantly. There is, after all, something important to saving time and energy.
Here's an installment on the challenge: