For a while now most people felt like they had their social networks pretty well figured out. There was MySpace, wild and crazy home of teens and bands. Then there was the more collegiate Facebook, which can have a party atmosphere at times but is generally a bit more laid-back (and easier on the eyes) than MySpace. And then there were the boring business community sites that were really all about just the business networking, with LinkedIn being the prime example.
But recently many of these networks are changing and morphing in ways that could alter how we all perceive and use social networks.
Not that long ago Facebook opened up its API and invited developers to build new applications for the network. This move appears to be working very well for Facebook, with lots of new applications that coincided with a boost in Facebook users. Then, according to a recent post at ZDNet, LinkedIn could be making a similar move to open up its API to developers.
But one of the most interesting bits of news came from Plaxo, an older generation social networking site and one that isn't remembered that fondly in these parts (mainly due to the overwhelming number of pushy Plaxo invites we used to receive).
Plaxo recently released the beta of version 3.0 of their service. Right from the bat it looks like a much more streamlined and less invasive and annoying service than previous Plaxo offerings. Most impressively, Plaxo has set themselves up to be the syncing service of business users, making it possible to sync up address books and calendars from a number of desktop mail applications and web-based services, including Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
With this kind of functionality Plaxo could quickly become a popular social networking destination for business users.
Of course, all of this new business oriented social networkings means I'll have to do something that I'm not really looking forward to. Spend a whole lot more time in these sites to test out their new functionality and write about it. Oh well, at least I'll be a lot more networked.